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Panthers exercise D.J. Moore’s fifth-year option

Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock will likely compete for the starting job in Denver, but Mike Florio and Myles Simmons explain why it doesn't necessarily rule out the Broncos from drafting a quarterback in the draft.

Last week, Panthers General Manager Scott Fitterer said the team would address players with fifth-year options after the draft.

At least with one player, he apparently changed his mind.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus said Thursday morning the Panthers informed him they’re exercising wide receiver D.J. Moore’s fifth-year option.

Moore was the 24th overall pick in the 2018 draft, and has reached 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last two seasons. He caught 66 passes for 1,193 yards with four touchdowns in 2020 — dramatically improving his yards per reception from 13.5 in 2019 to 18.1.

In 46 career games, Moore has 208 receptions for 3,156 yards with 10 TDs.

In exercising the option, Moore’s 2022 salary of $11.116 million is now fully guaranteed.

The Panthers also have to formalize their decision on recently acquired quarterback Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option. While Carolina has not ruled out taking a QB with the No. 8 overall pick on Thursday, Fitterer said what happens in the draft won’t impact that decision on Darnold.

After the trade went down earlier this month, a report emerged that Carolina would exercise Darnold’s option. If and when they do, Darnold’s $18.858 million salary for 2022 would become fully guaranteed.