Not only have the Panthers secured their future at the starting quarterback position, but they’ve taken care of the backup, too.
Carolina signed backup quarterback Derek Anderson to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Wednesday just hours before they boarded a plane bound for Pittsburgh. Anderson, who was set to become a free agent at the end of this season, has a deal that will run through the 2017 season. Financial details of the deal were not immediately available.
“I’m excited about this for my family,” Anderson said in a statement. “To be here with the players, coaches and management we have – everything is top notch.
“It was a no-brainer for me.”
Entering his 11th season in the NFL, Anderson went 2-0 for the Panthers as a starter last season when Cam Newton missed two games because of injuries. Anderson beat Tampa Bay in the regular season opener when Newton missed the game because of cracked ribs and then beat the Buccaneers again in December when Newton sat out because of fractures in his lower back after a car accident.
Anderson has been the team’s primary backup since Newton arrived in Charlotte as the No. 1 pick in 2011. He signed a two-year contract extension before the 2014 season that was worth $2.5 million after hearing offers from a handful of teams, he told the media during training camp in 2014.
Anderson was set to earn $1.175 million in 2015.
Drafted in the sixth round by Baltimore out of Oregon State in 2005, Anderson didn’t play until 2006 with the Browns. He went 16-18 as Cleveland’s starter, which is the second-best record by a starting quarterback for that franchise dating back to 1999.
He earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2007 when he threw 29 touchdowns against 19 interceptions and led the league in yards per completed passes at 12.7.
After getting benched in Cleveland he went to Arizona for a season where he went 2-7 as the starter. He signed with Carolina before the 2011 season.
Last year he went 65-of-97 for 701 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in two starts and six appearances. Teammates and coaches regularly refer to Anderson as one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league.
“Derek adds stability to the quarterback position as the backup, and we have tremendous confidence in him,” coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “His experience and veteran leadership has been important in the quarterbacks room and with the coaches. We’re securing a veteran player who has been a big part of what we’re building.”
The extension comes three months after the Panthers signed Newton to an extension through the 2020 season worth $103.8 million.
Anderson will likely get the start Thursday night in Pittsburgh in the final exhibition with No. 3 quarterback Joe Webb taking the rest of the snaps.