CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have re-signed the first of their potential free agents, reaching a two-year deal with linebacker Ben Jacobs.
Jacobs, a potential restricted free agent, returned to the team for the final four games last season after being released with an injury settlement just before the regular season started.
"I spent 13 weeks at home watching games on the couch and not knowing if I'd ever get the chance to play again. So when I got that call, I wanted to take full advantage," Jacobs said. "I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to stay with this organization because I love this place. I love these guys and this coaching staff. It feels like home to me."
Jacobs played in every game in 2014 and 2015 and was a special teams stalwart, pacing the team with nine special teams tackles in 2014 and adding eight more in 2015.
The Panthers are allowed to reach contract extensions with any of their remaining 22 potential free agents at any time, and those not signed can be signed by other teams when the new league year begins March 9. In addition, the Panthers can choose to place the franchise tag or transition tag on one potential free agent anytime between February 15 and March 1. If they do so, they'll have until July 15 to potentially negotiate a long-term deal. If a deal isn't reached, that player – if he signs the tag - will be set to play under the tag in 2017.
View photos of the linebackers in action during the 2016 season.