Cam Newton may have someone to throw to after all. According to a report by ESPN on April 7, the Carolina Panthers have agreed to a one-year deal with former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant.
In signing Avant, the Panthers add another veteran receiver and also depth to a position that became depleted at the beginning of free agency with the departures of Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr., Domenik Hixon and all-time leading receiver Steve Smith.
After seeing the team’s top four receivers sign with other teams, Panthers fans were left to wonder who Newton would be throwing to. The team eventually answered that question by signing former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Jerricho Cotchery and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Tiquan Underwood.
The 30-year-old Avant adds size to the position and most importantly, he adds experience. Last season with the Eagles, Avant had 38 catches for 447 yards and two touchdowns in a system where he was the third or fourth option.
The Panthers are still without a No. 1 receiver. The team will look for one in the draft, perhaps using the No. 28 pick or finding one in the second or third round. Head coach Ron Rivera isn’t concerned. He addressed the issue at the NFL owners meeting in Orlando, Fla.
“The thing that we had to look at is we have a good group of young guys that we feel need to get opportunities. We’ve got the draft, and there’s no secret that at some point if we’ve got a chance to draft a wide receiver we are going to do it.”
Fortunately for the Panthers, this year’s draft is deep at the wide receiver position. Bringing in a veteran guy like Jason Avant will help the young players currently on the team and the receivers they will select in the draft.
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