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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Roman Harper Signed; LaFell Leaves

Roman Harper signed a 2 year, $4.5 million deal, $1.5 million guaranteed, to become a Carolina Panther.

The news that the team was talking with Harper surfaced two days ago.  The former Saint, a 2nd round pick out of Alabama, played mostly strong safety there, and may play there here.  The Charlotte Observer calls him a free safety, potentially erroneously.

The team had apparently also talked with a couple of other free agent safeties - Usama Young (Raiders, Saints) and Ryan Clark (Steelers), both of which were free safeties in past stops.  So it's hard to say if either were expected to play alongside Harper, or if the team was simply trying to pluck one of them.  Clark is, as of this time Saturday, unsigned but talking to the Redskins; the Raiders signed Young again.

Brandon LaFell, a 2010 draft pick, has signed a three year deal with the Patriots.

Carolina apparently did talk with LaFell about returning.  It's somewhat hard to see the value for LaFell, who will have to fight with a recently re-signed Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, and young draft pick Aaron Dobson.

With Steve Smith now a Raven, Domenik Hixon a Bear, and Ted Ginn a Cardinal, outside leading receiver TE Greg Olsen, the team is going to be missing their leading receivers.

Expected target* Hakeem Nicks is off the table, and Carolina can't return any of their top four wide receivers, so there's a full on rebuild to be done without a lot of resources.  James Jones and Sydney Rice seem to be the 'names' left with Emmanuel Sanders possibly becoming a Bronco; Jerricho Cotchery is an interesting side name, as is the younger Robert Meachem.

So there's not a completely bare cupboard, but there's literally no one playing WR for the team that had a single reception last year.  Kealoha Pilares has the team career lead of active players with 2 receptions in 2012; Marvin McNutt received one target last year, and Tavarres King received none.

*Nicks is from Charlotte and I'm sure that's a fine story, and yeah, UNC is in the same state, but I really doubt that made this the slam-dunk

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