The Panthers signed their second draft pick so far, giving a four year deal to 4th round pick Ryne Robinson.
Robinson, of Miami (OH), and a Toledo native, comes to the Panthers short on high-level experience, but has world-class speed as a returner and receiver. Robinson is expected to be a major contributor on special teams and possibly a long term deep threat (especially considering that Drew Carter is a free agent after the year). Robinson shares with Steve Smith the pedigree of being a return man and will take over all of those duties; Robinson may also do a lot of Smith's dirty work on short WR screens and deep balls to free Smith up to create more opportunities in his own game. They also share the role of being the shortest receivers on the team - at 5'9, in a league full of players over 6'1.
The deal is worth a total of $2.013 million. The fourth year is an interesting situation - teams traditionally have given out three year deals because Restricted Free Agency is a solid way of ensuring that fourth year. Teams have right of refusal, get compensation if they lose the player, and almost always retain the player if they want to do so. However, as the cap has gone up, so have the stakes: to keep Carter, Jordan Carstens, and Michael Gaines (all second day picks or undrafted), cost the team $1.3 million apiece. Compare that to Robinson's total contract worth, and the fourth year makes a lot more sense to write in.