Grading Panthers' signing of Kurt Coleman

The Carolina Panthers added depth and competition on Monday to the safety position with the signing of Kurt Coleman. PantherInsider.com’s Brandon Croce hands out his grade for the most recent free agent signing by the Panthers.

For this free agent signing, and all signings from this point forward, we will be breaking the move down into four categories. Each category is worth up to 25 points and a final grade will be handed out based on the total score. These are the definitions of each category:

Player- How has the player produced to this point in his career? Where does he rank among other players at his position?

Team Fit- How does he fit within the offensive or defensive scheme?

Team Need- Is this position a weak spot on the roster? Does this move strengthen the position?

Contract- Is this a reasonable contract based on production? Did the team over spend or did they get a steal?

 

Player

Score: 20 out of 25

Kurt Coleman will be entering his sixth season in the league after starting his career in Philadelphia where he played four seasons. Last season he played for the Kansas City Chiefs and was the team’s primary backup, starting only one game for the team at free safety. However, even though he had limited snaps, he led the defense in interceptions with three.

At only 26 years of age, he has played both safety positions and shown an ability to put up high tackle numbers (93 tackles in 2012) as well as force turnovers (10 career interceptions). Even though he has not been a regular starter since 2012, he still believes he can be a starter in the NFL as Panthers.com’s Max Henson quoted Coleman, “I think I have worked my way to be a starter. I know I can play as a starter and be very productive.”

The fact that Coleman is able to play both safety positions is certainly a huge boost for his score here.

 

Team Fit

Score: 21 out of 25

Kurt Coleman should have some familiarity with the Panthers’ defense as he played for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in 2010 in Philadelphia. He started three games that season, including the Wild Card game against Green Bay, and earned himself a positive rating of 0.8 according to Pro Football Focus.

 

Team Need

Score: 18 out of 25

This was not necessarily an immediate need that had to be addressed with the duo of Tre Boston and Roman Harper playing well over the final part of last season. However, Harper is getting towards the end of his career and Boston at times looked to be in over his head.

The addition of Coleman gives the Panthers depth though with Robert Lester the only other safety on the roster. The competition between Boston, Harper and Coleman is going to be a fun battle to watch this offseason and through training camp as all three are more than capable of being starters on this defense.

 

Contract

Score: 25 out of 25

According to Spotrac, Coleman agreed to a two-year deal worth $2,800,000. This was the perfect contract for the Panthers as it is a low salary for a player with high potential. Coleman’s average salary of $1,400,000 is right in line with some of the free agent contracts this year and is less than the contracts signed this offseason by Major Wright and Chris Conte with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($1,500,000).

 

Final Grade

Score: 84 out of 100

Grade: B

This is a move that makes perfect sense for the Carolina Panthers. It fits the model the front office is trying to build by signing low-risk players in terms of contracts, who have high potential to play above their salary. Coleman has experience in this defense playing for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in Philadelphia and has the versatility to play both safety positions. 


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