Carolina signed Jeremy Shockey to a one year deal Thursday, in a move that definitely changed the way Carolina has operated and may signal more to come.
Shockey, 30, has five pro bowls and two Super Bowl rings, most recently with the Saints. Emergence of rookie Jimmy Graham made him expendable, and his receptions and TDs had started to decline. Nonetheless, he's a weapon.
It looks like this regime made good on their promise to change the TE position, as well as apparently changing business on Mint Street in general. The one year deal is significant - not because it'll be big money (it's not, most likely), or long term (we know it's a one year rental). It's a tight end, a real one. They last had one in 2002, when Wesley Walls was tailing off. It would've been smart to at least use him in 2003 as a 2nd TE, but instead cut him, and the John Fox era would rarely hear from the position again.
So, here, a decade later, it's an honest to God tight end again. It's a guy with some deep speed, size, and a hell of a blocker. It'll remain to be seen if he can keep his attitude in check, keep himself healthy, and keep from getting punched by Steve Smith.
As for business on Mint St? This is the first real free agent signing since 2008 - and that featured low dollar high value veterans, not stars. Shockey is a star, regardless of his age or recent value on the market. Last year saw the purge of almost anyone over 30, and here we are with a guy over 30 (and with Super Bowl rings - to keep Ron Rivera from being the only one in the building with one, I guess).
Hopefully, this will work. Hopefully, we'll look back on this in October fondly. It was the first real step in showing that they're serious: that they want to throw the ball, and well; that they can and will spend.