CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers got an experienced backup for starting quarterback Jake Delhomme on Friday when they acquired veteran Josh McCown from Miami for a 2009 late-round draft pick.
Delhomme, who is returning from ligament-replacement surgery in his right elbow, has recovered well and is scheduled to start the season opener at San Diego on Sept. 7. But behind him in the preseason were Matt Moore, who started the final three games last year as an undrafted rookie, and Brett Basanez, who has played in one NFL game.
The trade came one day after Moore injured his left leg in the final preseason game at Pittsburgh. Tests showed Moore did not break any bones or suffer ligament damage, and general manager Marty Hurney said the trade was not in response to the injury.
"Josh is a guy that we've liked for the last several years when he was in unrestricted free agency," Hurney said. "He's got a good arm. We thought he would be a good fit for us."
The Panthers have until today to clear a roster spot for McCown, meaning the team will have to trim its roster by 22 players to reach the regular-season limit of 53 plus receiver Steve Smith, who will be placed on the reserve-suspended list. With the Panthers unlikely to carry four quarterbacks, the move likely means Basanez will be either released or traded.
McCown signed a two-year deal with the Dolphins in the offseason after starting 31 games in a six years in Arizona, Detroit and Oakland. But he became expendable after the Dolphins signed Chad Pennington and rookie Chad Henne emerged in the preseason as Pennington's likely backup. Former BYU star John Beck, entering his second NFL season, had also seen more playing time in camp than McCown, who didn't play in the final three preseason games.
McCown, a former third-round pick of the Cardinals, saw his most action in 2004, when he started 13 games for Arizona and passed for 2,511 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He has thrown 35 touchdowns and 40 interceptions in his career.
"He does bring some experience," Hurney said. "We felt that was something that would help us."