Adam Thielen has himself a new home in the NFL after agreeing to sign a three-year deal with the Panthers over the weekend. This came after the veteran receiver was released by the Vikings earlier this month, meaning he's had a few weeks to scour across the market and test the free-agent waters. While he ultimately ended up in Carolina, it does appear like he had an intriguing collection of teams to choose from.
During an appearance on the "Pat McAfee Show" on Monday, Thielen revealed that the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys were among the teams that were vying for his services upon his release from Minnesota.
"There was the Broncos, Cowboys -- You know, I had conversations with those teams and a few others," Thielen told McAfee. "Again, the Panthers just felt like the best fit and it all kind of just worked out. It all happened kind of quickly. I didn't know when it was going to happen and it just kind of all came at once. But, again, my family, my wife, my kids, we're so excited to go there."
Dallas had been in the market for a second wide receiver to complement CeeDee Lamb and had very publicly been checking in on Odell Beckham Jr. before ultimately trading for Brandin Cooks, so it's not totally shocking to hear about them kicking the tires on Thielen. As for Denver, both Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton have been the subject of trade rumors over the course of the offseason, and you could make a case that an addition of Thielen would've helped cushion that blow if either of those players were shipped away.
Meanwhile, Thielen's three-year deal with Carolina is said to have a max value of $25 million and includes $14 million guaranteed. That is a lofty number for the Panthers to pay someone like Thielen, who'll be 33 at the start of the 2023 season. It's possible that this contract could've also priced out other teams that were checking in on him.
"A lot of people are going to say I went there for the money and all that, but honestly at the end of the day, again, money was not a big deal," said Thielen, who also noted that he'll head to Carolina on Tuesday to officially sign his deal. "Of course, you want to get paid what you feel like you are worth. But at the end of the day, again, I wanted to go to a good situation for my family, for myself, and ultimately, that I felt like a place seriously had a chance at winning a Super Bowl. Again, I really do feel strongly with that."
While Thielen may have confidence in his ability to win in Carolina, it's still unclear who'll actually be throwing him the football next season. The club traded up to the No. 1 overall pick at the 2023 NFL Draft and is poised to select a quarterback at that spot. However, a bonafide top pick has yet to truly emerge, which is quite a bit different than those other interested teams like Denver and Dallas, who both have established quarterbacks.