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Panthers sign three players for 2013


The Panthers have already taken steps toward the future with the 2013 offseason less than a week old.

Future Signings: Carolina has signed three players to "future" contracts for the 2013 season.

All three of the players - wide receiver Lamont Bryant, cornerback Nick Hixson and tight end Nelson Rosario - ended the 2012 season on the team's practice squad. Bryant and Nelson attended training camp with the Panthers and spent the entire year on the practice squad, while Hixson began the season on the Saints' practice squad before joining Carolina's unit for the last five games.

The contracts are referred to as "future" contracts because even though the players have signed, they do not officially become members of the roster until the beginning of the new league year - March 12.

Draft Order: Carolina will pick 14th in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25.

The Panthers, San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints all finished with 7-9 records. The ties were broken by strength of schedule, with the team that played the easiest schedule choosing first among the group. Carolina had a .516 strength of schedule, which ranked fourth among the five teams. In subsequent rounds of the draft, the Panthers will move up one position among the clubs in this segment.

Carolina currently has five selections in the seven-round draft, holding choices in the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. The Panthers traded their third-round pick to San Francisco during last year's draft in order to acquire an additional fourth round selection, which was used to take defensive end Frank Alexander, and they traded their seventh rounder to Oakland in exchange for wide receiver Louis Murphy last July.

It is possible that the Panthers could receive additional picks when the league awards compensatory choices, typically in March.

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