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Panthers Planning to Add Two Bodies in Secondary

With a widening hole in their secondary, the Carolina Panthers are planning to bridge the gap with a couple of Band-Aids.

The first move came Tuesday afternoon when they signed free agent cornerback Robert McClain and put Bené Benwikere on injured reserve. The second isn't official, but it's likely the hand they'll be forced to play.

Photo: Ben Coon
Photo: Ben Coon

According to multiple sources, cornerback Charles Tillman has been dealing with a partially torn ACL. Both he and the Panthers have been tight-lipped about his status the past few weeks, but their fingers were crossed that he could return by the end of the season. With Benwikere done for the year, the Panthers may not have the luxury to wait.

Coach Ron Rivera said Monday the team wanted to see how Tillman's knee would respond during Wednesday's practice. Unless it improves greatly over the next 24 hours, the Panthers are planning to promote Lou Young from the practice squad with Tillman likely headed for injured reserve.

A three-year starter at Georgia Tech, Young signed with Denver as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He then spent time on practice squads in Baltimore and Jacksonville before the Panthers signed him to theirs last November.

Young impressed coaches in workouts this spring, but a hamstring injury cost him most of training camp. At 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, Young has good size and plays physical, but he's never played in an NFL regular-season game.

McClain, who was a Panthers' seventh-round pick in 2010, spent 2012-14 with the Falcons. He was in camp with New England this summer, but was released in final cutdowns.

In four seasons, McClain has totaled 202 tackles, three interceptions and 21 passes defensed.

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4 thoughts on “Panthers Planning to Add Two Bodies in Secondary”

    1. don’t resort to doom and gloom just yet friend. Norman is still the best CB in the game and while Tillman was decent he still allowed way too many short passes as a result of having to give receivers extra cushion due to his lack of speed. Benwikere going down is bad but Finnegan has played well at nickel. Robert McClain is still young and showed promise in ATL. He may not be a pro-bowl caliber player but as long as he’s just decent he should be fine, and as we’ve seen countless times now, Gettleman knows how to pick his FAs, I don’t think we have to worry.

      1. But this was a little more forced than simply replacing players throughout the season based on athletic talent although the locker room asset would be good reasoning to argue to keep Tillman around even if slightly better talent became available… I’m not sure. It might be more of a test on our front seven.

        Time to see how resilient this defense is.

        1. “Time to see how resilient this defense is.” The panthers were without Keuchly for 3 weeks and Charles Johnson for 8 weeks… I’m tired of hearing about how the next thing the panthers face will be the ‘true’ test of whether they’re any good or not. Either all of these tests prove it or they don’t, but when they just keep winning despite it all, eventually you have to declare the tests passed

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