by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com (4/11/14) The Panthers agreed to sign free agent defensive back Thomas DeCoud to a two-year deal Thursday, the team announced.
The deal will pay the former Falcon $3.75 million if he meets all incentives, and includes a $500,000 signing bonus. DeCoud is coming off a season in which he racked up 65 tackles in 15 games, but failed to record an interception for the first time in five seasons.
Panthers will retain DL Colin Cole
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com (4/8/14) The Panthers have re-signed defensive lineman Colin Cole, according to a report from the Charlotte Observer Tuesday. Cole will return to the Panthers on a one-year deal, after starting 13 games a year ago in his return from a two-year absence due to injuries.
Cole played 31 percent of the team's defensive snaps in all, finishing with 15 tackles and a sack. Financial terms of the deal are not yet known.
Roman Harper joins Panthers for two years
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com (3/15/14) Free-agent safety Roman Harper is staying in the NFC South, as the long-time Saint has agreed to a two-year deal with the Panthers, according to ESPN.com Saturday. The deal with pay Harper $4.5 million over two years, with a $1.5 million signing bonus.
Harper is a two-time Pro Bowler who fell on hard times a year ago, appearing in just nine games. He finished the 2013 season with just 39 tackles, his lowest total since he was a rookie in 2006.
Hardy will now be paid $13.116 million for one season, and he hopes to parlay the franchise tender into a long-term deal. The move puts Hardy under contract for 2014 and prevents him from flirting with another team and ultimately signing an offer sheet.
In signing the tender, Hardy gives up the ability to hold out of training camp without being fined $30,000 per day, since he's under contract.
Panthers expected to use franchise tag on Greg Hardy
The Charlotte Observer reported Friday that Hardy and the Panthers remain in discussion for a long-term deal, but the team will obviously wants to keep Hardy at all costs. Hardy is looking for a contract commensurate with his place among the league's best pass rushers after totaling 26 sacks over the past two seasons.
If he gets the franchise tag, Hardy will likely make $12 million in 2014.
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One might expect the Panthers DST to carry the team this season as the offense is in flux. After the unit totaled a league-best 60 sacks last year while holding opponents to 15.1 points per game, that expectation seems reasonable. But just as the Carolina offense lost key players, so too did its defense. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and safety Mike Mitchell are both gone. Roman Harper might fill a spot at safety but the cornerbacks on staff leave a lot to be desired. On another team that would be a huge problem but considering the Panthers front seven and incredible pass rush, that might not be a big issue. It's a unit anchored by a pair of amazing pass rushers in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy along with beefy D-linemen Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis add more wrinkles to a defense that held opponents to 86.9 yards per game and 1,391 yards on the season. We're a little nervous about the pass defense getting lit up – the Panthers schedule includes their division rivals plus pass-wielding teams like the Bears, Lions, Packers, Eagles and Bengals. They're still a start-worthy unit but one not worth reaching for. They should be taken with a pick within the last three rounds of a draft.