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Instant Analysis: Greg Olsen traded to Carolina

Well, that was quick.

It was reported last night by the Chicago Tribune that Greg Olsen was on the trade block.  He was sent to the Carolina Panthers twelve hours later in exchange for a third round draft pick in 2012.  This quick turn of events has a lasting effect in both Carolina and Chicago.  Let’s take a look at the players whose values have changed in the latest edition of “Instant Analysis.”

Greg Olsen, TE CAR
It was said that Olsen didn’t really want to be moved, but he really needed a change of scenery.  Mike Martz is known for destroying the value of tight ends and he lived up to that billing last season as Olsen had just 41 catches, 404 receiving yards and just four touchdowns.  To make things even more mysterious, he followed up his mediocre regular season with a playoff game against Seattle that featured three catches for 113 yards and a score.

That’s all in the past.

Olsen will immediately become an important weapon for Cam Newton and the Panthers. New Coach Ron Rivera knows just what a great tight end can bring after spending the last couple of years in San Diego with Antonio Gates.  While Olsen isn’t as talented as Gates, you can make the argument he’s one of the ten best pass catching tight ends in football.

The bad news for Olsen is the fact the Panthers are in total rebuilding mode.  He’s only 26, so he’s obviously part of the solution in Carolina.  However, he’s going to be forced to endure some growing pains from his quarterback as Cam Newton attempts life in the NFL.

Many prognosticators are projecting Olsen to be a TE1 this season.  We’re not buying it, at least not that season.  There’s just too much going on in Carolina to expect Olsen to produce elite tight end numbers in year one.  The best news for Olsen owners is that he’s again a player to target as a future starter in dynasty leagues.

Jeremy Shockey, TE CAR
Say What!?!

Shockey was supposed to be the top tight end in Carolina this season after they acquired him from the Saints. Unfortunately, this is going to zap any value he had.  He can be safely dropped in even the deepest of leagues. It’s unfortunate the lasting memories we’ll have of him are from one dominant preseason game and remembering a ton of injuries.

Cam Newton, QB CAR
The addition of Olsen gives Newton a very important safety valve. While Shockey would have been decent for a year or two, Olsen gives Newton a legitimate long-term option at an important position.  With a solid running game, a defense that seems to be intent on not losing any key players and now a tight end who can really catch, Newton is being set up for success.

Now, can he deliver?

Steve Smith, WR CAR
If Smith really does change his tune and want to be a Panther for life, the addition of Olsen can’t hurt. At least defenses can’t put all their attention on what Smith is doing on the outside.  With a talented trio of running backs and a solid tight end, the offense doesn’t have to start and end with Smith.

Kellen Davis, TE CHI
Davis is a name to stash away in dynasty circles.  As we’ve noted, the tight end isn’t used as much with Mike Martz at the helm of an offense, but the Bears really like Davis. He could be a starter this year on offense and develop into a nice player down the road.

Jay Cutler, QB CHI
The Bears are doing more losing than gaining this offseason and Olsen is a significant loss for the offense. Cutler could really use a legitimate receiving option right about now.

Ken Kelly
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