Carolina Panthers sign Jeremy Shockey
The Carolina Panthers have signed four-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl winner Jeremy Shockey.
After his release from the New Orleans Saints, Carolina nabbed up the Pro Bowl tight end and put his name on a one-year deal just a day before the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement was set to expire. The Miami Dolphins also regarded the nine year veteran with passing interest, but opted not to sign him, likely due to the string of injuries that have decreased his productivity in the past couple years. Ironically enough, Shockey picked up his most recent injury in November 2010 against the Panthers, suffering a bruised rib when he was brought down after a catch.
Newly appointed Carolina head coach Ron Rivera was surely looking for a proven veteran to help spark the NFL’s worst offense. Shockey will provide the Panthers offense an inside presence to take some of the pressure off wide receivers like Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell, who were continually smothered in the Panthers’ 2-14 run straight to the bottom of the league last year. Shockey will join returning tight ends Jeff King and Dante Rosario, who have been labeled restricted free agents.
Shockey’s impact for the Panthers remains to be seen, however. Under John Fox, the tight end position was used primarily for blocking in an extremely ground-oriented offense. Before Shockey can even catch a ball, someone has to throw it to him. Carolina has struggled to find a consistent starting quarterback after releasing Jake Delhomme prior to last year’s season. Draft darling Jimmy Clausen threw for 3 TDs and 9 interceptions in his rookie year, and his backup, Matt Moore, threw for 5 TDs and 10 interceptions.
Of course, none of this will make a difference if a lockout happens.
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