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The Panthers have signed three potential starters
08-12-2019, 02:14 AM
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The Panthers have signed three potential starters
CHARLOTTE Drew Lock Jersey , N.C. (AP) in the second wave of free agency.Carolina signed safety Da’Norris Searcy and cornerback Ross Cockrell to two-year contracts on Friday and guard Jeremiah Sirles to a one-year deal. The financial terms were not released, although Cockrell’s agency Reign Sports Management announced on Twitter his deal was worth $6.8 million.Searcy and Cockrell both have North Carolina ties and were teammates before with the Buffalo Bills in 2014. It didn’t take them long to resume their trash talking with Searcy having played at North Carolina and Cockrell from rival Duke.”There has been plenty of it already,” Cockrell joked on a conference call Friday.Added Searcy: ”Oh yeah, it started when we got off the plane. We already played together and we carried that relationship over from Buffalo.”All three free agents fill vacancies left from last season and could start for the Panthers in 2018.Searcy was brought in to compete for a starting safety position that opened up when the team released veteran Kurt Coleman.Searcy is a seven-year NFL veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Titans after four seasons (2011-14) with the Bills. His most productive season came in 2014 when he had 65 tackles and three interceptions.Searcy played in all 16 games last season for the Titans with six starts, recording 27 tackles, one quarterback pressure, one interception and two passes defensed. He also had six stops on special teams.He lost his starting job last season, but said he still sees himself as a starter.”Situations change,” Searcy said. ”I took it on the chin and still helped the team and played excellent when I was there. I will carry myself as a starter and let the chips fall where they may.”Cockrell, a four-year NFL veteran http://www.cardinalscheapstore.com/zach-...rsey-cheap , is expected to compete for the starting cornerback spot created when Panthers general manager Marty Hurney traded away Daryl Worley to the Eagles for wide receiver Torrey Smith earlier this month.”I am ready to come in and make plays on the ball,” Cockrell said. That is what I do.”Cockrell played in all 16 regular season games with nine starts for the Giants last season and led the team with 11 passes defensed. He also had 49 tackles and a career-high three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.He was drafted in the fourth round in 2014 and has played in 53 career games with 31 starts over his four-year career. Since entering the league he has recorded 153 total tackles, 32 passes defensed and five interceptions.It will be a homecoming for Cockrell, who grew up in the Charlotte area and played at Charlotte Latin High School.”It’s a great pleasure to come back and rekindle some family ties,” Cockrell said. ”This is great place to play football. We are not too far removed from a 15-1 season and a Super Bowl.”Sirles enters his fifth season, having spent the past three with the Vikings and will have a chance to compete for the starting guard spot vacated when All-Pro Andrew Norwell signed with the New York Giants.Sirles has played in 30 career NFL games with 15 starts.He played in 14 regular season games with four starts last season for the Vikings, with all four coming at left guard.The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Sirles helped the Vikings rank seventh in the NFL in rushing yards with 122.3 yards per game. In his starts, Minnesota averaged 132 yards rushing yards per game Andy Isabella Jersey , nearly 10 yards more than the season average.He started a career-high 10 games while playing in 14 in 2016.— KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twice in a span of three years the Kansas City Chiefs spent their top draft pick on defense, and the response from their fanbase was a collective shrug followed by some frantic Google searches.Who had heard of Dee Ford outside the SEC? Or Chris Jones, for that matter?Ford was a speedy, athletic but raw pass rusher out of Auburn whom many draft pundits considered a risky reach when the Chiefs chose him 23rd overall in 2014. Jones had a solid if unspectacular career at Mississippi State before the Chiefs took him with the No. 37 overall pick two years later.Yet those two have been the lone bright spots on a blighted Chiefs defense.Ford has piled up 12 sacks and forced six fumbles in a contract year, giving the Chiefs a tough but welcome financial decision to make this offseason. Jones has at least one sack in an NFL-record 11 consecutive games and his 15½ this season is second only to Rams star Aaron Donald.Together, they have more sacks than the Raiders, Giants and playoff-bound Patriots.“I don’t think too much about it,” said Jones, who was among the more noteworthy Pro Bowl snubs this season. “We’re just trying to win games. That’s what is most important right now.”Especially given the stakes this week: The Chiefs must beat Oakland on Sunday to win the AFC West and earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs Jamel Dean Jersey , or risk potentially dropping to the No. 5 seed.Yet the Chiefs probably wouldn’t be in such a position without Ford and Jones, and simply making that statement speaks volumes to what they’ve accomplished in their young careers.Ford dealt with a series of injuries that kept him on the sideline about as much as the field, and he struggled to adjust to the NFL game. He was almost exclusively a pass rusher at Auburn, but learning the nuances of pass coverage and stopping the run took a few years.100<button class="view-gallery">View Gallery</button> Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj MehtaSure, there were bright spots along the way. But nothing resembling his breakthrough this season.“I think Dee, he’s healthy, feels good about the things he is doing,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He’s doing a good job of setting the edge, which kind of gets overlooked just because of his pass rush. He is playing good football right now.”Ford had three sacks and forced two fumbles in a win over the Broncos earlier this season, and his steady play has allowed him to remain on the field even in obvious running situations.In other words D.K. Metcalf Jersey , he’s developed into a well-rounded linebacker.One that’s about to get paid handsomely.The Chiefs can’t afford to let him go in free agency, so Ford is an attractive candidate to get the franchise tag. And with a salary cap expected to be about $190 million next year, that means giving Ford more than $16 million — a substantial bump from the roughly $8.7 million he’s making this year.They could also sign him to a long-term deal, though Khalil Mack just shattered the market with his $141 million, six-year deal with the Bears. Eight figures for Ford is hardly out of the question.Then there is Jones, who lost about 25 pounds since last season and has become one of the top interior pass rushers in the NFL. He started his sack streak in Week 5 against Jacksonville, and not only has Jones had at least one in each game since, but he has five games with more than one.Throw in enough versatility to adequately defend the run, and enough personality to make him a fan favorite, and Jones becomes the kind of cornerstone upon which the Chiefs can build.“His body fat is way down. He works his fundamentals and techniques. That’s what he does Nick Bosa Jersey ,” Reid said. “He still has room to grow, which is great. He isn’t tapped out by any means. I will tell you it all started in the offseason. Now it is paying off for him as the season has gone on.”It’s going to pay off in another ways. Jones still has one year left on his rookie deal, and an extension now would be costly for the Chiefs. But the alternative is to wait until the 2020 season ends, at which point they’ll be up against everybody else in free agency in need of a pass rusher.All that lies in the future, though. Ford and Jones insist they are focused solely on the present, and that means preparing for a game against Oakland with major playoff implications.
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