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Gettleman: Needs addressed in free agency


CHARLOTTE – When discussing the Panthers' nickels among the team's moves in free agency, general manager Dave Gettleman offered up a two-sided coin.

"We felt like we addressed some issues," Gettleman said. "You know, when free agency starts, we don't have a nickel. Now we have three."

That phrase could have been taken quite literally or strictly in a football personnel sense.

But despite being up against the salary cap at the onset of free agency, the Panthers front office created space – by way of restructured contracts and cuts – allowing for multiple signings, which included three nickels.

Nickel cornerbacks, that is.

"They are all talented people. Drayton Florence can move inside, and he can play the nickel if we need him to," Gettleman said. "Captain (Munnerlyn) – you are all aware of his qualifications. And D.J. Moore – 10 picks in three years with not as much playing time, that ain't too shabby."

The Panthers also added a pair of former Giants in linebacker Chase Blackburn and wide receiver Domenik Hixon – two players and two Super Bowl champions that Gettleman became familiar with during his time in New York.

"(Chase and Domenik) are guys that are pros, that have been there, that know how to prepare and have jewelry," Gettleman said. "You know they are going to be what you want them to be and they can show the young guys the way."

To round out Carolina's free agent acquisitions to this point, the Panthers brought back defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, linebacker Jordan Senn, quarterback Derek Anderson and tight end Ben Hartsock, while also signing several more newcomers – wide receiver Ted Ginn, safety Mike Mitchell, defensive tackle Colin Cole and wide receiver James Shaw.

Head coach Ron Rivera is pleased with the way his roster his taking shape as the team prepares for the draft.

"I've been impressed with what we've been doing in free agency, the different ideas and the way (Gettleman) is trying to manage the cap and restructure things to help us," Rivera said. "And the way he's worked with Rob Rogers and Brandon Beane and Mark Koncz, those guys have really done a great job as a group working with Don Gregory and his scouting staff."

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