Panthers sign two, tender two


CHARLOTTE – On the eve of free agency, the Panthers have tendered contracts to two players and re-signed two others.

Carolina tendered two offensive linemen – restricted free agent Byron Bell and exclusive rights free agent Chris Scott. The Panthers signed tight end/fullback Richie Brockel to a two-year contract and Garry Williams to a one-year contract.

Bell has played in all but one game since joining the Panthers as an undrafted free agent from New Mexico in 2011. He's made 40 starts at right tackle during his three-year career.

Scott played in 10 games with eight starts in 2013, his first year as a Panther. He started the season opener at left guard and then moved to right guard for seven starts following a season-ending injury to Williams. He suffered a knee injury versus Atlanta in Week 9 and was inactive for or did not play in the following six games.

Brockel, who was slated to become a restricted free agent, has played in 43 games with two starts in three seasons with the Panthers. He's recorded four catches for 25 yards and rushed four times for 13 yards and one touchdown. In 2013, Brockel played in 16 games and finished third on the team with six special teams tackles in addition to posting one catch for 12 yards.

Williams, who could have become an unrestricted free agent, entered the 2013 season as the Panthers' starting right guard, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opener against the Seattle Seahawks. Signed by the Panthers as an undrafted rookie free agent from Kentucky in 2009, he has played in 40 games with 21 starts in five seasons. Williams has started 13 games at right tackle and eight at right guard.

Williams joins Scott and Amini Silatolu as the only guards under contract for 2014 who have played in an NFL game. Veterans Travelle Wharton and Geoff Hangartner can become unrestricted free agents when the new league year begins on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

With left tackle Jordan Gross now retired, Bell, Travis Bond and Kevin Hughes are the only offensive tackles currently under contract for 2014 who have played in an NFL game. Bruce Campbell can also become an unrestricted free agent.

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