CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have re-signed another defensive end.
Wes Horton, a run stopper who took a step forward as a pass rusher last season, has signed a two-year contract through the 2018 season. Horton is the second Panthers defensive end who could have become an unrestricted free agent to re-sign in as many days after Mario Addison signed a three-year contract Sunday.
"This is a very big day from where I started in the NFL, just being a guy trying to make a roster and find a way into the league," Horton said. "So to have the opportunity to have this extension with the Panthers is unbelievable. It's a moment I've worked for my whole career, and now that I'm here, I'm just very thankful."
It's a measure of stability for Horton, who had been waived and subsequently re-signed by the Panthers three times since October of 2015. Horton wasn't on the team for the first five games of the 2016 season but became a starter shortly after his return and resumed his role as a solid force against the run while also adding 2.5 sacks. He showed a penchant for big plays down the stretch, forcing two fumbles and recovering two fumbles.
"When you're on the street, unemployed, and you have an opportunity to come back, it definitely motivates you," Horton said. "I saw it as an opportunity to get my career back on track, and the Panthers allowed me to do that by giving me the reps. As the weeks went on, I felt more and more comfortable, and those reps created better and better play. I was dialed in."
In four seasons with the Panthers since being signed as an undrafted rookie out of Southern Cal, Horton has 8.5 sacks in 45 games.