Carolina Panthers: Sign Michael CrabtreeGiven the skill set of quarterback Cam Newton, it's not a shock that the Carolina Panthers offense has been built around the run more than the pass since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2011. For four straight seasons, the Panthers' offense has ranked higher in run offense DVOA than in pass offense DVOA. Last year, their running game dipped to 17th in DVOA after three straight years in the top 10. But their pass offense was even worse, ranked just 23rd.Drafting Kelvin Benjamin last year gave the Panthers a size/speed freak to line up at one receiver spot, the kind of talent defenses need to game-plan against. The next step is to fill the other spot with the kind of receiver who can specifically take advantage of defenses that are either sitting in zone to prevent Newton scrambles, leaving a safety deep to prevent the bomb to Benjamin, or both.That's where Michael Crabtree comes in. The former San Francisco first-round pick is the kind of excellent route-runner who eats up zone coverages. He doesn't have deep speed, but he's very quick to separate at the break of his routes. Newton is better at throwing from the pocket than most fans realize, and better at throwing with anticipation and hitting receivers after their breaks.Crabtree struggled in our advanced metrics in 2014, with a below-average DVOA, but that's likely a product of the overall struggles of the entire San Francisco offense. Crabtree was above-average in DVOA each year from 2010 through 2013, finishing sixth in total value by our DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) stat in 2012. As an added bonus, Crabtree is an above-average run blocker on the perimeter, a must for the Carolina offense. It could be just the right fit to help the Panthers follow up their first-ever repeat NFC South title with a first-ever third straight NFC South title.
I'm on board. He should come relatively cheap compared to the higher profile guys on the market (Dez, DT, Cobb, Maclin, T. Smith).