It is being reported on Wednesday night that the Carolina Panthers will be hosting free agent cornerback Charles Tillman. ESPN’s David Newton and Jeff Dickerson reported that Tillman was in Charlotte Wednesday night for a visit with the Panthers. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that visit is expected to continue into Thursday.
On the surface the connection makes sense considering Tillman played for Ron Rivera, when he was a defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2006. He had some of his best years under Rivera averaging 87 tackles, five interceptions and 15 passes defended in 2005 and 2006.
The addition of Tillman would also give the Panthers some veteran leadership at a position that is very young. Starter Josh Norman will only be entering his third season while Bene Benwikere will be entering his second.
The concern with Tillman certainly has to be how much he has left in the tank. This coming season will be his 13th in the league and he has had trouble staying healthy the past two seasons. Over the first 10 seasons in the league, Tillman missed a total of 14 games and eight of those came in 2004. The last two seasons though he has missed 22 games due to a torn tricep, both times happening in his right arm.
The Panthers have been trying to address the cornerback position this offseason and thought they had their guy in cornerback Alan Ball. However, the former Jaguar left Charlotte before signing a contract and instead decided to sign with the Chicago Bears.
The thought process to bring in a player like Tillman, as it would have been for Ball as well, is they want someone who can play outside. This would allow them to move Benwikere inside to nickelback, a position he seems much better suited for. While the thought process is a sound one, Charles Tillman may not be the right answer due to his age and recent injury history.