Panthers sign safety DeCoud


CHARLOTTE – Veteran safety Thomas DeCoud, a 2012 Pro Bowler for the Atlanta Falcons, has signed a two-year contract with the Panthers.

"Thomas provides a veteran in the secondary who is familiar with the NFC South and has been a very solid player," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We are pleased to add him to a safety group that has good experience and production."

A third-round draft choice by the Falcons in 2008 out of California, DeCoud started all but two games from 2009-13, intercepting 14 passes over his six seasons in Atlanta while amassing 507 tackles and 29 passes defensed. He topped 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons as a starter before making the Pro Bowl following the 2012 season on the strength of a career-high six interceptions.

DeCoud had 83 tackles this past season and recorded his first career touchdown with a 30-yard return of a fumble. He became a free agent when the Falcons released him March 11.

DeCoud is the third defensive back – the second with Pro Bowl credentials - that played for another team last season to sign with the Panthers over the last three-and-a-half weeks. The others are safety Roman Harper – a two-time Pro Bowler in eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints - and veteran cornerback Antoine Cason, a first-round pick in 2008 who has never missed an NFL game.

It's been a busy few days for the Panthers, who re-signed defensive tackle Colin Cole and signed wide receiver Jason Avant and tight end Ed Dickson earlier in the week.

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