Thielen: Panthers have 'real chance' to win Super Bowl
It's safe to say new Carolina Panthers wide receiver Adam Thielen likes what the team has been building ahead of the 2023 season.
"Honestly, I wasn't really planning on going to the Panthers and went on a visit there just to hear them out because I wanted to go somewhere that I felt like I had an opportunity to win a Super Bowl," the two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver said on "The Pat McAfee Show" Monday. "And when I went there, I sat down with coach (Frank Reich), I sat down with GM (Scott Fitterer), and I sat down with all of the coaching staff, and I felt like Carolina was the place to do that.
"I feel like there's a real chance to win the Super Bowl."
Thielen, who spent the last nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, agreed to a three-year, $25-million contract with the Panthers on Sunday. The Vikings released him on March 10 after the two sides failed to restructure Thielen's deal, which had a $19.9-million cap hit in 2023.
The 32-year-old said Monday that multiple teams expressed interest in him before he chose Carolina.
"The (Denver) Broncos and (Dallas) Cowboys, I had conversations with those teams and a few others," he said. "And again, the Panthers just felt like the best fit."
The Panthers are kicking off a new era, with the club hiring Reich this offseason and expected to draft a quarterback first overall next month. Carolina originally owned the No. 9 pick in the draft but moved up after completing a trade with the Chicago Bears. The team had been looking for a new starting receiver since sending D.J. Moore to Chicago as part of the blockbuster deal.
Carolina posted its fifth straight losing season after compiling a 7-10 record in 2022. The club hasn't made the playoffs since 2017 and is one of 12 NFL teams never to win a Super Bowl.
In addition to Thielen, Carolina added veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, running back Miles Sanders, and tight end Hayden Hurst, among other players.
"When they added Andy Dalton, that was a huge part to me going there," Thielen said. "Just knowing that a veteran guy that's played a lot of ball can really groom and help lead a team and a young quarterback that will be coming in."
Thielen caught 70 passes for 716 yards and six touchdowns last year. He racked up 534 receptions, 6,682 yards, and 55 TD catches while appearing in six career playoff games with the Vikings.