In this second edition of Possible Free Agent Acquisitions, I’m going to focus on the cornerback position. Other than Chris Gamble the Panthers really don’t have a reliable corner on the roster. There are a bunch of solid DB’s that are going to be on the market this offseason and the Panthers would be wise to take advantage of that.
The Panthers secondary has been very shaky the past couple seasons. They just simply have a lack of talent in that area of the defense. In this day and age the NFL is a quarterback driven league and if you don’t have db’s who can lock down opposing receivers, then you are going to have a tough time winning games.
One of the first guys that come to mind is still battling in the playoffs for our division rival, the New Orleans Saints. That guy would be Tracy Porter. And the Panthers obviously don’t have any problems with signing players who are coming from teams within their division, as they elected to sign Jeremy Shockey (played for the Saints) this past season. Porter isn’t a guy that’s going to rack up a bunch of interceptions, but he is a solid corner, who has good instincts and decent cover skills. And if the Panthers decide to use an early draft pick on a corner, then adding Porter would give them very good depth at the corner position.
Another guy that stands out to me is Cortland Finnegan. He’s spent his entire career in a Titans uniform and might be ready to get out of there. He’s constantly viewed as one of the top 10 corners in the league and should definitely help the Panthers pass defense if they choose to pursue him. He’s a guy that has a knack for creating turnovers and can shut down opposing receivers. However, he does have a history of getting into his share of on-field scuffles and has a bit of temper. But he’s definitely a player that Carolina should give some attention to.
Carlos Rogers is also a free agent DB that I think the Panthers should consider. He’s a veteran guy, who has played a big part in the San Francisco’s 49ers playoff run. Rogers, who has a tall, athletic frame, can be physical with opposing receivers and also is good in run support. Having two veteran corners like Gamble and Rogers as starting corners could be a very effective duo. The Panthers do have Brandon Hogan, who was their 4th round pick this past season who spent most of his first season on the PUP list, but Ron Rivera didn’t seem to show too much interest in him. There are also some really good corners in this year’s draft, so I’m sure Carolina will be considering taking one of them. But regardless of what happens in the draft I expect the Panthers will elect to sign a corner in free agency and any of the three I’ve mentioned would be solid additions.