Here’s what happens every year in the NFL:
Late in the season—say mid-November—a handful of teams either lose their starting quarterback due to injury or just bench him due to poor play. They go with a younger, less talented quarterback on the roster to close the season when they could have used a more capable veteran in the final weeks.
That veteran could be Derek Anderson. Time and again veteran quarterbacks pop around the NFL to start on teams, help salvage a season and then get a chance to be the full-time starter (see: McCown, Josh).
But that’s not what Anderson wants, and that’s why he re-signed with the Panthers this week for a contract worth up to $5 million that will take him through the 2017 season with Carolina.
“I mean, yeah that would be nice (to be a starter), but I like the situation we have going here,” Anderson said Thursday night after Carolina’s 23-6 win against the Steelers. “My wife’s happy here and the guys in the locker room, coaches are great
“I wasn’t just going to go chase something and then get in a situation that’s not ideal and not knowing the people I’m working with.”
Anderson has been in situations that aren’t ideal. He didn’t end particularly well in Cleveland despite being the franchise’s only Pro Bowl quarterback since 1999. And he bottomed out in Arizona with a 2-7 record as a starter in his only season there.
He’s been Cam Newton’s backup since 2011 and found stability here. And when Carolina needs him, he’s been able to answer the call. He’s 2-0 as a starter and he’s the only player since 2010 with at least 100 pass attempts and no interceptions.
Anderson is in his 11th year, and there’s no doubt he could start for a few teams in the league and probably more as the season goes along and squads find their quarterback play to be lacking. But back-to-back division titles with the opportunity for a third is quite the draw for Anderson.
“Ultimately it was about this team and players,” he said. “My family likes it here. A multitude of things, really. It wasn’t about chasing more money or anything like that. It’s about being on a team that wins football games. At this point in my career that’s what I’m all about.”