CHARLOTTE – The official start of free agency is a couple weeks away, but the Panthers have already made an addition.
Carolina signed free agent defensive end Chris Smith to a one-year contract on Wednesday.
The former Brown faced unthinkable tragedy last September when his girlfriend was killed in a traffic accident. Smith played in nine games for Cleveland before being released in December.
Reports surfaced recently indicating the Salisbury, N.C. native was ready to resume his career, and his visit to Charlotte resulted in a signed contract.
"I'm excited. It's a fresh start for everybody," Smith said. "I'm somebody that loves the game and loves to get after the quarterback from any position on the D-line. "
The 6-foot-1, 266-pound Smith has played in 60 career games over six seasons, compiling 68 total tackles, 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. His only two career starts came in 2018 with the Browns.
The former Arkansas Razorback was drafted in the fifth round by the Jaguars back in 2014. After three seasons in Jacksonville, he spent one year with the Bengals in 2017.
View photos of newly-signed defensive lineman Chris Smith throughout his time in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Jacksonville.