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Panthers GM, head coach discuss meeting with free agent QB Derek Carr

Head coach Frank Reich complimented Derek Carr, but it's clear the Panthers would rather draft a rookie quarterback than sign the veteran to a short-term deal.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Free agent quarterback Derek Carr had a good meeting with Carolina Panthers leaders at the NFL Combine but the team would prefer to draft its next franchise QB, general manager Scott Fitterer said. 

Carr met with Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich. Team owner David Tepper was also part of the meeting, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Reich and Fitterer discussed the meeting with reporters Wednesday. 

"I have a lot of respect for him," Reich said. "It's just to see if it's the right fit. This is a good option, but we're looking at all options. I think it was a very good meeting."

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Fitterer echoed that sentiment, saying the Panthers would prefer to build around a rookie quarterback, and Reich said he believes Carr has about five more prime years in the NFL. 

"It was a feeling out process," said Fitterer, who was in Seattle when the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in 2012. "We were just going down that road. We're also going down the road of the draft quarterbacks as well. That's our philosophy, to explore every option out there."

Two of the most coveted incoming rookies are Alabama's Bryce Young and Kentucky's Will Levis. Reich praised both, but did say Young's stature could be an issue for some teams. 

"Are there very many QBs his size that are high picks? No there are not, but there are exceptions," Reich said. "And there's good reason there are exceptions."

Carolina owns the ninth overall pick in the draft. Reich said the team is looking at all options, be it trading up, down or staying where they are. Ultimately it comes down to who they want — and how much Tepper is willing to pay. 

"He said he would give us the resources," Fitterer said. "He just said bring us the best. He's back that up, it's what we feel is one of the best coach staffs in the NFL." 

As for Carr, he also met with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets. It's unclear if he has a preferred destination at this time. 

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