Carolina Panthers sign free agent wide receiver and return specialist Pharoh Cooper.
Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is restructuring the roster under a watchful eye and assistance of new coach Matt Rhule, along with owner David Tepper. After suffering through back-to-back losing seasons which featured dismal collapses in each, change was deemed necessary and Tepper wasted no time in executing his plan.
Even before the 2019 season was complete, Tepper moved on from coach Ron Rivera, setting in place a domino effect of uncertainty. While questions and rumors circulated regarding veteran players, potential free agents and the future of quarterback Cam Newton – answers are finally being revealed as pieces fall into place.
A rebuild is in order and although signing Teddy Bridgewater to quarterback Carolina into the immediate future isn’t a terrible idea – there are other areas of need on the roster. Yes, cornerback is a glaring hole after parting ways with James Bradberry but one position in particular has needed a solid player for far longer.
The Panthers return game has struggled considerably with nearly everyone sans Christian McCaffrey back to catch punts and kicks. McCaffrey and the Panthers toyed with the idea some during his rookie campaign but he became far too important on offense to continue having him field kicks.
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After switching between multiple candidates it appears Carolina will hand the reigns to wide receiver prospect Pharoh Cooper. A North Carolina native who played collegiate ball at South Carolina, Cooper is a former All-Pro (2017) returner for the Los Angeles Rams. Only 25-years old, there is still plenty of time for him to develop into a threat on offense, in addition to his natural prowess as a returner.
Last season Cooper returned 42 kicks and punts, averaging just over 16 yards an attempt for the Arizona Cardinals. Part of an outstanding special teams group, Cooper now has the ability to cement his place in the league with a giant window of opportunity as a member of the Panthers.
As a result, Cooper is definitely a player to keep an eye on this season.