The Panthers will eventually manage to sign DJ Moore’s replacement. But so far, general manager Scott Fitterer has done a solid job of plugging the other holes in Frank Reich’s attack.
After bringing in center Bradley Bozeman earlier in the week, Fitterer got busy on the first day of free agency Wednesday, agreeing to terms with tight end Hayden Hurst before the league’s official start to the year.
Then, at dinnertime in the East, Fitterer continued to cook (as the kids say), landing former Eagles running back Miles Sanders on a four-year contract, according to a source with knowledge of the contract who was not allowed to discuss it.
PANTHERS FREE AGENCY: Hayden Hurst | Bradley Bozeman | Andy Dalton
Sanders, 25, was ranked No. 45 on Athleticism list of the best free agents available.
How it fits: With D’Onta Foreman testing the free agent market, the Panthers wasted no time adding a running back who brings a different skill set to Reich’s offense than the big, physical foreman. Sanders, a 2019 Penn State second-round pick, rushed for a career-high 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns during the Eagles’ Super Bowl season. And though his reception count has dwindled every year he’s been in the league, Panthers running backs coach Duce Staley was in Philadelphia when Sanders caught 50 passes (on 63 targets) for 509 yards and three touchdowns. as a rookie.
CJ Stroud, Bryce Young or someone else? Panthers better get it right with No. 1 pick
Impact 2023: Sanders’ versatility and pass-catching ability should help the quarterback the Panthers will take with the No. 1 pick. Sanders was a big part of the Eagles’ offense as Nick Sirianni built him around Jalen Hurts. The Panthers made a contract offer to Foreman before the start of free agency, and they haven’t ruled out re-signing the 6-1, 236-pound back for the right price, according to a source familiar with the situation. . The Panthers also have Chuba Hubbard and Raheem Blackshear under contract.
History: Sanders, who grew up in Pittsburgh, came to Penn State with the nickname “Boobie,” a nod to Permian (Texas) running back High Boobie Miles of “Friday Night Lights.” Miles’ friends started calling him that in high school because he loved the movie, but he also looked like Derek Luke, the actor who played Miles in the 2004 movie. “I knew it hurt shot when my mom started calling me that,” Sanders said during an interview with NFL Network.
Panthers should draft new QB, but finding pass catchers will be a priority
Ceiling update: Miles’ four-year contract is worth $25 million, according to a source with knowledge of the contract who was not authorized to discuss it. It’s hard to know what the impact of the cap is without seeing the details of the contract.
Outlook: Sanders was the Eagles’ most drafted running back since LeSean McCoy (second-rounder in 2009), then became the franchise’s first 1,000-yard rusher since McCoy’s 2014 1,319-yard season in his last season in Philadelphia. Despite making his first Pro Bowl, Sanders saw his playing time plummet during the playoffs as the Eagles relied more on Kenny Gainwell in passing situations. After trading Christian McCaffrey in October, the Panthers didn’t have a regular wide receiver out of the backfield. The Panthers are hoping Sanders, while working with Staley, can return to a more balanced form early in his career.
(Picture: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)