The rich get richer

News this morning is that wide receiver Rod Gardner has been traded to the Panthers in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick. This is a steal for the Panthers and pretty much guarantees they make the playoffs.

Everyone knew the Redskins had to trade Gardner after he refused to play for the 'Skins this season. And the fact that the Panthers only had to give up a sixth round pick for the 15th overall pick who is 27, just sweetens the deal for Carolina.

Gardner is an underrated receiver who has suffered from the quarterback/coaching carousel in Washington. The final straw came last season when 'Skins owner Dan Snyder resurrected Joe Gibbs. Gibbs is enchanted with the running game, even when his team is down by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Despite losing Muhsin Muhammed, the Panthers should have a better receiving corp this year. They get Steve Smith back from his freak injury last season (the same injury that T.O. suffered, which caused the owners to ban the tackle that caused the two injuries). Smith is far more talented than Muhammed, and is a more emotional leader on the offense.

Gardner will fit in nicely as the second receiver, a guy Jake Delhomme can count on to catch balls on third down. And you can expect Keary Colbert, who showed flashes of brilliance last year, to get better in his second season. Plus they have Buc killer, Ricky Proehl on their team (on a side note, I will never forgive Proehl for catching that touchdown pass in the '99 NFC Championship game. How the hell did the Bucs defense let the Rams 4th receiver beat them deep?!?).

I will have more to say about the Panthers, as well as the Saints and Falcons, once the preseason games start up.

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