Panthers Continue to Focus on Offensive Line

The signing of wide receiver Jarrett Boykins by the Carolina Panthers was not the only move made. The team continued to look at their offensive line and claimed offensive tackle Jonathan Martin off waivers and also met with free agent Ben Ijalana.

In a move to add depth to the position, as well as competition at right tackle, the Carolina Panthers claimed offensive tackle Jonathan Martin off waivers. The San Francisco 49ers put Martin on waivers Thursday and the Panthers were quick to act by claiming him one day later.

The 49ers acquired Martin last offseason in a trade with the Miami Dolphins for a seventh round pick. He started nine games last season at right tackle but finished with a grade of -10.9 by Pro Football Focus. This was the 16th worst rating for an offensive tackle who played at least 50% of the team’s offensive snaps.

Martin was a second round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2012 and started every game his rookie season at right tackle. In 2013, he gained notoriety and national attention when he was the target of a bullying scandal and faced constant verbal abuse from teammates Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey.

The addition of Martin wasn’t the only move the Panthers tried to make on Friday to bolster their offensive line. They also met with offensive guard Ben Ijalana, a former second-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts, per Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. He was cut by the Colts in 2012 after suffering tearing his ACL twice (once his rookie season, once in training camp in 2012).

The New York Jets claimed him in 2013 and he appeared in three games last year for the team. He played a total of six snaps over those three games.

If the Panthers were to sign Ijalana, it would be strictly as a depth signing to backup second year players Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner. However, he would be the third offensive linemen brought in this offseason along with Martin and free agent Michael Oher. It is clear that the front office wants to bolster the offensive line this offseason and have as much help protecting Cam Newton in 2015 as possible.

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