Cameron Artis-Payne signs new deal, returns to the Carolina Panthers.
The Carolina Panthers entered last offseason under a cloud of uncertainty. While many of their roster positions were filled, the coaching vacancies and ownership roles vacated created questions for the remaining leadership. This year, the leadership roles remain in tact but the roster is undergoing major turnover.
Veteran captains Ryan Kalil, Julius Peppers and Thomas Davis are all gone. Until the free agent signing period opened, vacancies at safety, linebacker, receiver and along both lines needed to be filled. General manager Marty Hurney has already addressed some of these areas but is far from finished constructing the 2019 roster in its entirety.
Running back appeared to be a forgotten position with the emergence of Christian McCaffrey last year. He proved more than capable of handling a heavy workload on the ground and through the air. Following the season, Cameron Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker became free agents, leaving just two other backs on the roster with McCaffrey – Elijah Hood and Reggie Bonnafon.
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Needing to add some additional depth, Hurney and the Panthers signed Artis-Payne to a new one-year contract. Familiar with the organization, Carolina selected him in the fifth-round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the signing immediately provides some cushion, in addition to competition for the active roster positions on game day.
Artis-Payne saw action in nine games last season, finishing with 19 carries, 69 yards and a touchdown. In four total seasons while occupying a backup role, the former Auburn star averaged over four yards per carry and found the end zone at least once every year.
While the move serves to strengthen the roster at running back, Hurney may still target someone in the draft who could make things even more interesting. Potentially attempting to create another dual threat backfield, although finding someone with similar characteristics to McCaffrey is not an easy task.
Artis-Payne appears to be a true team player, willing to take on any role necessary and his addition should be viewed as another positive one from the Panthers in preparation for next year.