Grading the Panthers' Free Agent Signings

The Carolina Panthers have spent a majority of their time re-signing their own free agents, however, they did bring in three new players to help go for a third straight NFC South division title. These are our grades for the deals for the three newest Carolina Panthers.

Michael Oher

Contract: 2-year deal worth $7,000,000 including a $2,500,000 signing bonus

The former first-round pick was the first player the Carolina Panthers signed. He was released from the Tennessee Titans earlier this year after spending only one season there. The player made famous by the book, then movie The Blindside had a promising start to his career while with the Baltimore Ravens. He was the team’s starting right tackle during the 2012 season.

However, he started to struggle towards the end of his contract with the Ravens and the team allowed him to leave in free agency last offseason. The Titans offered Oher a multi-year career but poor performance and an injury late in the season led to his release from the team.

The Panthers were in desperate need for a left tackle when they decided to not bring back last year’s starter Byron Bell. Oher provides the team veteran presence who can play both left and right tackle. It also gives them a chance to develop an offensive tackle and not necessarily rush him out on the field if he is not ready.

As long as the Panthers view Oher as a stop gap to allow the team to develop their offensive tackle of the future, this is an excellent move. If the Panthers view Oher as the final answer to the left tackle, it is hard to say the position has improved any from 2014.

Grade: B

 

Ted Ginn Jr.

Contract: 2-year deal worth $4,200,000 including a $1,700,000 signing bonus

After the Oher signing, the Carolina Panthers turned their attention to Ted Ginn Jr, player they know very well. Ginn played for the Panthers during the 2013 season and after an excellent season tested free agency that eventually brought him to the Arizona Cardinals. However, the emergence of rookie John Brown made Ginn expendable and the Cardinals decided to release him.

It would make sense for Ginn to return to Carolina because he played some of his best football here and is familiar with the offense. Meanwhile, the Panthers addressed two glaring weaknesses on their team, with a lack of speed at wide receiver and an experienced return man on special teams. Ginn fits these roles perfectly and signed a reasonable contract for this caliber of player.

Grade: A-

 

Teddy Williams

Contract: 2-year deal worth $2,300,000

While the first two moves made sense, this one raised some questions. Teddy Williams is an NFL journeyman spending time with six organizations over the four seasons. He got his start in the league with the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 after not playing a single snap of college football. He possesses incredible speed and is a big bodied cornerback, which is something every NFL defense looks for in this era.

After the initial shock of “Who?” wore off, this is could actually be a pretty good signing. He is a young, raw cornerback who has excellent speed and could develop into a quality cornerback. In the meantime, though he should be a major boost to the team’s coverage unit on special teams.

The biggest issue with this signing was the fact that the team gave him a two-year deal, however, with no guaranteed money this is not a major issue. For right now it warrants a low grade but there is certainly potential in the move.

Grade: C-

All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.com


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