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April 07, 2014

Panthers sign Jason Avant

Slowly but surely, the Carolina Panthers are rebuilding their depleted wide receiver corps.

The Panthers have signed free agent wideout Jason Avant to a one-year contract, the team announced Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Avant becomes the third free agent receiver to sign with the Panthers, joining former Steelers red-zone specialist Jerricho Cotchery and ex-Tampa Bay wideout Tiquan Underwood.

The Panthers cut franchise receiving leader Steve Smith last month and saw three other receivers -- Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon -- leave in free agency.

And while they still don't have a true No. 1 receiver -- Panthers coach Ron Rivera says they don't necessarily need one -- they picked up a sure-handed, possession receiver in Avant, who spent his first eight seasons in Philadelphia.

Avant, who turns 31 in two weeks, was cut last month in a move that saved the Eagles more than $3 million in salary cap space. Avant, Philadelphia's fourth-round pick from Michigan in 2006, ranks 11th in Eagles history with 297 catches for 3,646 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Avant had three consecutive seasons with at least 50 catches from 2010-2012. His productivity slipped a bit in Eagles coach Chip Kelly's system last season, when Avant pulled down 38 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns.

“We are happy to have Jason with the Panthers,” Rivera said in a release. “He provides a versatile player at receiver and brings good size as well as experience to the position.”

Avant was one of two free agents who were at Bank of America Stadium on Monday.

The Panthers continue to talk with former Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud, although the two sides do not have an agreement in place, according to a source.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 7, 2014 at 06:33 PM | Permalink


We really upgraded our talent at wr from last year! Gentleman really want us to believe we are better off with these cast offs? I think teams are going to put nine in the box and play our receivers one on one coverage. We don't have anyone who can command double team and take the pressure off the others. There are going to be a lot of three and outs, which equals to a very long season!

Posted by: Tyrone | Apr 7, 2014 7:17:03 PM

Not a bad pickup. We're about at the talent level we were last year minus Smith. Now spend a top draft pick on a WR and you have that veteran presence in the locker room to develop him...something this team could never do before.

Posted by: Panther Joe | Apr 7, 2014 7:18:58 PM

Is the team pulling more cost saving moves like their 2-14 season? Is Richardson playing GM again? If I was Cam, I wouldn't be in any hurry to get back with this stellar receiving group.

Posted by: Peter Weinberger | Apr 7, 2014 7:21:36 PM

The Panthers WR's last year averaged 10 catches a game- just 10! So that big drop off in production that everyone is talking about, well it is a little too fast for that kind of judgement . I love Smitty and Ginn, but 10 catches for a WR group, 29th in passing for a team? That's not really world beaters. So everyone who gets upset everytime we sign a guy and they get upset because we didn't land a number 1, only got a bunch of scrubs - our receiving group last year were scrubs. Check the stats- Cotchery, Underwood and Avant have stats that equal or compare to last years receivers, plus Rivera already said it's not a secret that the team will draft at least one receiver. Don't rush to pronounce the Panthers will fail......just might actually be a better team!

Posted by: michael | Apr 7, 2014 7:26:45 PM

Anyone who think this receiving corp is better or the same talent level haven't covered the NFL the last few years. If you think last year crew was average, then this year have to be one step above the practice squad. We look like a first year franchise who picked up guys other teams didn't protect. We're becoming the east Oakland Raiders. Picking up other teams cast offs.

Posted by: Tyrone | Apr 7, 2014 7:30:16 PM

10 catches is misleading. Shula's offense isn't WR friendly! Anyone that know football know that!

Posted by: Tyrone | Apr 7, 2014 7:32:24 PM

Tiquan underwood can be everything ted ginn for us last year and i think cotchery and avant are better than hixon and lafell were. The team's going to draft 2 wrs and if they get some production from them we'll be fine. Keep calm and trust gettleman.

Posted by: DeSean | Apr 7, 2014 7:53:25 PM

This crew can top last years receiver corps... We really didn't lose much stats wise. Cotchery had more td's than our "number 1" and our " number 2".... Not hard to top last years production

Posted by: Jarrod | Apr 7, 2014 7:55:16 PM

I can see your points, but put into thought that Cotchery was a product of third WR whom didn't command a lot of attention that was garnered by the Steelers WR 1 and WR 2. Over the history of the NFL, third and fourth receivers don't put up the same numbers when they are thrust into the starting crew. That by itself should cause some concern by us.

Posted by: Tyrone | Apr 7, 2014 8:24:45 PM

i love what GETTLEMAN is doing. he has quite an eye for talent and constructing a team. watch out for the panthers in 2014. rivera has finally realized the head coaching postion, and if the offense can come up with some imaginative play calling, we will be unstoppable. CAM, HARDY, LUKE, OLSEN, STEWART, + top receiver and offensive lineman from the draft. GO GENIUS GETTLEMAN.

Posted by: jon | Apr 7, 2014 8:28:46 PM

If the Panthers could somehow get a dominate OL and WR in the 1st round, we'll be golden.

Posted by: Big Rob | Apr 7, 2014 8:29:17 PM

Not sure why so many say JR is cheap the NFL has a cap. If he was so cheap on signing players we wouldn't be in the mess we are in with contracts being over the cap.

Posted by: jason | Apr 7, 2014 8:29:30 PM

Before I grow up I plan to run around yelling the sky is falling just like Tyrone.

Posted by: deepenwide | Apr 7, 2014 8:30:14 PM

Looks like we are going OL or CB in the first. Odell better have already been selected when our pick comes up

Posted by: Ogy | Apr 7, 2014 8:48:36 PM

Avant has great hands so def an improvement over Lafell=now find a way to get 1 of the top 4 receivers in the draft

Posted by: ed3180 | Apr 7, 2014 9:00:32 PM

I've got season tickets available if anyone is interested and thinks this is more good news!

Posted by: Sam Vimes | Apr 7, 2014 9:11:59 PM

It is what it is.

Posted by: Sports don | Apr 7, 2014 9:23:18 PM

Good signing overall but fresh young talent is needed and not some four or five year developmental plan. A veteran LT is needed to start ahead of Turnstile Bell. KR/PR is also an area of need. No Pilares or Barner. Things are beginning to look a little better but the jury is still out until training camp when Cam returns from surgery.

Posted by: Whitecomet77 | Apr 7, 2014 10:32:24 PM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Apr 7, 2014 11:28:16 PM

I think avant and cotchery will help us move the chains. Now add a speedy receiver in the draft, cb,and a quality lineman and we are playoff bound.remember we have most of our core on defense.

Posted by: chillman | Apr 8, 2014 7:51:45 AM

I think avant and cotchery will help us move the chains. Now add a speedy receiver in the draft, cb,and a quality lineman and we are playoff bound.remember we have most of our core on defense.

Posted by: chillman | Apr 8, 2014 7:51:46 AM

People look at last year WR corp with they heart not with their brains we 29th in passing and only got 10 catches a game from the WR corp Fred Olsen was the leading receiver. Like last yr each WR we have will fit a role and do well at that role. Smitty as he even admits was not a number 1 WR and we went 12-4

Posted by: MrTmoney1993 on YouTube | Apr 8, 2014 8:36:39 AM

I wouldn't spend too much on WR's either, when you have a run first qb that overthrows consistently.

We are sculpting a good offensive scheme around the qb we have.

Posted by: tony clifton | Apr 8, 2014 9:42:29 AM

We got rid of our fleet of number 2 wr and replaced them with a fleet of number 3 wr at best.

Posted by: Bashar | Apr 8, 2014 10:15:39 AM

I like what Gettleman did last year and it proved to get us to the playoffs. I think with all the shake up, we may have a decent offense.

To me, this whole mess is that we tied up too much in our running backs(hurney). So we cannot trade them or cut them without eating dead money. We have to sign players for the next few years and getting over that is going to take a year or two. Look at what other teams have had to do. Cut players with salaries just to make the cap space work. Some of you claim to know football, but apparently you know only the game. You have to look at the business of building a team.

Posted by: Darnell | Apr 8, 2014 10:40:02 AM

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