CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers worked quickly in free agency to improve their defense on Wednesday afternoon, securing deals with edge rusher Haason Reddick and middle linebacker Denzel Perryman. Reddick received a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and Perryman netted a two-year contract, his agency confirmed. Later Wednesday, the Panthers continued their push, securing a deal with defensive end Morgan Fox, his agent told ESPN. ADVERTISEMENT Reddick, 26, had a career-high 12.5 sacks — tied for fourth most in the NFL last season — after having just 7.5 in his first three seasons. He also had six forced fumbles.
He set an Arizona Cardinals franchise record in a game against the New York Giants in December when he recorded five sacks in a 26-7 victory. The 2017 first-round pick of the Cardinals struggled throughout his time with the franchise to find a positional home. He was a defensive end in college but was moved from there to inside linebacker to outside linebacker to edge rusher and back to defensive end over his career with the Cardinals, which included playing for three different coaching staffs.
EDITOR’S PICKS What we’re hearing on NFL free agency: Tracking signings, rumors, trades and more Grading NFL free-agent signings and trades NFL experts debate free agency: Biggest surprises, most confusing approaches so far Reddick found his rhythm in 2020 after replacing Chandler Jones in the starting lineup when Jones went down with a biceps injury in Week 5. In their ongoing quest to find a middle linebacker to replace perennial Pro Bowl standout Luke Kuechly, the Panthers will turn to Perryman. The former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker (5-foot-11, 240 pounds) will replace Tahir Whitehead, who was signed to a one-year deal last offseason after Kuechly retired after only eight NFL seasons.
Whitehead’s inconsistency and inability to play from sideline to sideline — as Kuechly did — led to him starting only nine of the 14 games he played. He was deemed expendable after the season. Denzel Perryman. 28, a second-round pick out of Miami in 2015, had 349 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions in six seasons with the Chargers. He was given a two-year, $12 million extension in 2019 but chose to explore the market this season. Known for his hard hitting and toughness as a tackler, Perryman is versatile as well. One of his career highlights was an interception deep in the middle of the field against Atlanta in 2016. Fox, 26, had 21 tackles and six sacks last season for the Los Angeles Rams. He received a two-year, $8.5 million with $7 million guaranteed, a league source said. The Panthers, earlier this week, secured deals with former Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Cam Erving and guard Pat Elflein from the New York Jets.