With the NFL's tampering period beginning at 2 PM today, the reports have already begun rolling in. Bucs retain star pass rusher Shaq Barrett, Lions keep Romeo Okwara, and Patriots sign Jonnu Smith. It seems the Panthers are centering their free agency around the offensive line, with reports that Panthers have reached deals with former Viking/Jet Pat Elflein and swing tackle Cam Erving.
As Matt Rhule has mentioned numerous times, versatility is so important. Pat Elflein is a versatile interior lineman, having played both guard spots and a few games at center when needed. John Miller Michael Schofield, and Chris Reed are set to hit free agency, and the Panthers fill one of those spots with the former Buckeye. Contract is rumored to be 3 yrs 13.5 million. They obviously believe in his potential, at still only 26 years old.
Cam Erving, a former 1st round pick in 2015, has certainly underperformed for his draft status but has still proven to be quality depth and spot starter. Honestly, with the numbers they are reporting (2 yr 10 million), I'm not liking the signing but at least they are addressing the trenches. A former NFL exec always said to not depend on the draft because the players you want could be selected at any point. It's better to address them through free agency so you're not desperate for any certain position entering the draft.
After mentioning offensive line and cornerback as positions of need, I expect Fitterer to go after a corner, preferably a high dollar guy like Shaquill Griffin, but I'd be okay with someone like Justin Coleman or Michael Davis. Coleman has Seattle connections and Davis is someone that is severely underrated at his position.
I will keep you updated as more deals get reported. What are your thoughts on the signings? Leave your comments below.