Carolina Panthers

Panthers running out of time, options for backup QBs

CHARLOTTE -- The Carolina Panthers weren't able to land a veteran quarterback Tuesday night, meaning the clock's ticking.

Because practice today could be interesting unless they get a deal done soon.

They're obviously making a move to replace the injured Jake Delhomme on the roster. But as of late Tuesday night, general manager Marty Hurney had yet to finalize a deal.

Speculation was running wild in league circles as to what the Panthers were doing, as they went into stealth mode. They didn't bring any quarterbacks in for a workout or a visit Tuesday, meaning they had a good idea who they wanted going in.

The market thinned when this week's opponent, Arizona, signed journeyman Tim Rattay to back up Kurt Warner since Matt Leinart's out for the year.

That leaves 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe as the big names available, though Bledsoe is retired. Testaverde was in camp with New England this summer but was released in final cuts. He had planned to work out for Arizona, but cooled on the idea at the last minute, with the indication that he wanted to stay on the East Coast.

There's also lots of talk on the trade market. Oakland's Andrew Walter's the primary name out there at the moment, but the Panthers would have competition if they wanted to make a move. Several teams in the market for an upgrade have made inquiries to the Raiders, meaning they have the leverage here.

And from a practical matter, the Panthers need to get something done quickly.

The move they did make Tuesday was to release practice squad quarterback Quinton Porter, and to add tight end Marcus Freeman and Billy Latsko back to the developmental unit.

And since it's unclear if starter David Carr (back) is going to be able to practice fully or at all, there's an obvious need for another arm.

As of press time, the only healthy quarterback on the roster was undrafted rookie Matt Moore, who they claimed off waivers from Dallas the day after final cuts and who threw two passes last week.