Mid-season Grades on Panthers Off-season Acquisitions
How well did the Panthers’ really do during the offseason…?
The Carolina Panthers made seven notable offseason signings. At the time, every fan raves about how positive of an impact these players could make over the course of the upcoming season. At about halfway through the season, let’s see how well these players are actually performing for the Panthers.
1. Jeremiah Sirles, Guard
Unfortunately, Sirles was injured during a preseason game against the New England Patriots, placed and injury reserve, and subsequently released. Given how short his time was with the Panthers, and how quickly he was kicked off to the curb, Sirles wasn’t the hottest signing the Panthers had. At least they didn’t commit a lot of money, which is the only thing saving this grade from complete failure.
2. Ross Cockrell, Cornerback
Another lost commodity of the Carolina Panthers, Cockrell broke his leg during training camp according to the Charlotte Observer. His broken leg resulted in a placement on IR with a chance to return to the play later in the season. Cockrell was not released like Sirles was due to the fact that he had signed a two year 6.6 million dollar contract according to Spotrac. He was supposedly lined up to start for Carolina, so he’s not a complete bust… yet.
3. Da’ Norris Searcy, Strong Safety/ Free Safety
Unfortunately, the streak of injuries continues with Searcy, as he was placed on IR. He suffered back-to-back concussions during consecutive preseason games. Exactly the same as Cockrell, Searcy was placed on IR with a chance to return. His grade is exactly the same as Cockrell too because of their similar status.
4. Jarius Wright, Wide Reciever
A strongly positive signing, Wright has made his stamp on the offense. He has also earned the trust of both his quarterback and offensive coordinator. During week seven against the reigning Super Bowl champions, Wright’s number was called on a two-point conversion in a 17-point comeback. Even before that he was an incredible upgrade over the likes of Brenton Bersin.
5. Dontari Poe
A behemoth was added to the defensive line this offseason. However, Poe has been somewhat of a letdown. During seven weeks of football according to Pro Football Focus, Poe has failed to record a sack, has only 12 tackles (11 of which he needed help from teammates), no tackles for loss, and only 1 quarterback hit. For a man that was given a three year 28 million dollar contract, he hasn’t been worth the money. As a grade savior, Poe has been able to allow his partners in crime, Julius Peppers, Mario Addison, and Kawaan Short to gobble up opposing quarterbacks. Still, everyone expects a little bit more.
6. Torrey Smith
This signing was a favorite this offseason, and it still is. While not quite possessing the speed of Ted Ginn, Torrey Smith is a pretty fair approximation. Smith is 0.8 seconds slower than Ted Ginn but Smith has an inch of height and 30 more pounds on Ginn. In the mind’s eye, Smith could replace the void Ted Ginn had left. While he has not been used in the same field stretching method, Smith has still a deadly run-after-catch ability. During week seven, Newton connected with Smith for a huge 35-yard play on fourth and ten. Of course, he also failed to connect on a catchable ball during a critical drive against the Redskins…