Carolina took steps to recover a few free agents today, signing RFA
TE/FB Richie Brockel to a two year deal and OG Garry Williams to a one
Williams started last season as the #1 right guard after the team
dropped Geoff Hangartner, and just as he was showing strong play, got
hurt. The former Kentucky tackle was set to be a free agent, and the
deal is supposed to be near the minimum.
Brockel started two games last year, and was a fill-in for Ben Hartsock
as a blocking TE, along with an occasional fullback in front of Mike
Tolbert. Brockel's true value is in special teams, however, where he
led the team in snaps by a fair margin.
Brockel's deal was to circumvent the RFA process, where keeping the
backup would've been cost prohibitive. Both years would expect to be
near the minimum with a small amount to sign. The team would potentially
still go after a 2nd TE, either returning Ben Hartsock on an inexpensive
deal or potentially a change-up with size that would be a better
receiving threat; they also have Brandon Williams as a project player
I'd expect to make the team, so they could as easily move the other TE
decision down the road until after the draft.
The Observer also has the backup linemen Chris Scott and Jeff Byers as
exclusive-rights free agents, a good sign since they won't have to go
through the RFA process (suggesting they have accrued two years, not
three) this year, which likely keeps both on the team.
The moves at guard and center do bolster the line, giving them an
expected starter at RG in Williams, a capable backup there in Scott to
go with unsettled 2nd year Ed Kugbila, and that could let Nate Chandler
move out to play backup OT. That leaves the bigger needs, replacing
Jordan Gross as the largest issue, to be resolved. The team may also be
looking at a new, very inexpensive deal for Byron Bell, another
potential restricted free agent, along with pushing him with another