CHARLOTTE – Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin described his career thus far as a whirlwind. But he wound up in Carolina, a place he considers an ideal fit. "I'm excited to be a part of a team that's had a lot of success recently," Martin said. "I know a little bit about coach Ron Rivera and (offensive line) coach (John) Matsko and I'm excited about working with them and being successful here."
In 2014, Martin played in 15 games with nine starts at right tackle for the San Francisco 49ers. He expected to play for San Francisco in 2015, and was admittedly caught off guard when the 49ers released him.
"It was a little surprising not being in San Francisco for another year, but that's the nature of the business," Martin said. "I'm glad I got another opportunity. I'm excited to be a part of this group."
The Panthers claimed Martin as they continue to build depth and increase competition on the offensive line.
"Our goal is to build the strongest roster possible and add competition at every position," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "Jonathan brings quality experience to our offensive line, having started 32 games in his career at both tackle spots."
Said Martin: "They are going to give everyone an opportunity to compete and that's all I can ask for."
Martin's career began in Miami when the Dolphins selected him from Stanford in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He started all 16 games as a rookie but left the team seven games into his second season following a bullying issue involving fellow-lineman Richie Incognito.
The Dolphins later traded Martin to the 49ers for a conditional seventh-round draft choice. He got a necessary fresh start in San Francisco, and is motivated to become a better player with the Panthers.
"At this point it is firmly in the past," Martin said. "I want to have a successful career playing football. I'm lucky to have gotten an opportunity here in Carolina."