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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hackett Signed

The Panthers pulled in WR DJ Hackett with a two year, $3.5 million deal. The 6'2, 205 lb Hackett will compete with Muhsin Muhammad for the flanker job; Hackett will wear the #18 vacated by Drew Carter (now with the Raiders).

Some suggest Hackett has been promised the starting job, and that Muhammad will be only a slot receiver; I think it's more likely that the team uses Muhammad at times on run downs, and gets situationally replaced by Hackett, and both play in the spread a good deal. It's as likely that whoever starts will be used as often as the other; it's also certainly possible that the team use Hackett in the slot most of the time, being more suited to the role than Muhammad, regardless of which player starts.

Another option, of course, is to split the difference and use Smith at the slot instead of isolating him at split end every down. At any rate, the move (assuming Hackett can be healthy) is a clear upgrade from the inconsistent and underpowered pair of Carter and Keary Colbert that helped plague the passing game last year. And since Hackett signed for $1.75 million a year, and Muhammad not likely for more than that, the team certainly did a lot better than to have signed Bernard Berrian ($7 million annually after one good year), Javon Walker ($6 million annually and injured), or even Colbert ($2.75 mil after having not caught a TD pass since 2005). The team set out to upgrade, and did so with two potent players that won't cost the moon.
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