Carolina Panthers

Panthers to host Jason Avant on Monday, sources say

jperson@charlotteobserver.comApril 6, 2014 

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said recently his team doesn’t necessarily need a No. 1 receiver.

But the Panthers aren’t done looking at proven, complementary wideouts.

Former Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jason Avant is scheduled to visit the Panthers on Monday, according to two league sources with knowledge of the situation.

It could be a busy day at Bank of America Stadium, with free agent safety Thomas DeCoud also in town to meet with team officials.

Avant, who will turn 31 in two weeks, was released last month in a cost-cutting move by the Eagles. The former fourth-round pick, who played his first eight seasons in Philadelphia, would have had a $4 million cap charge this year for the Eagles.

Carolina fans wanted the Panthers to pursue former Philadelphia wideout DeSean Jackson when he was released. But because of Jackson’s baggage, the Panthers were not interested.

But that does not figure to be an issue with Avant.

When the Eagles released Avant on March 4, team owner Jeffrey Lurie praised him as a leader and role model.

“There have not been any players who have represented the Philadelphia Eagles with more class and dignity than Jason Avant,” Lurie said in a statement. “Whether it was in the locker room, on the playing field or in the community, he has always been a true professional, a role model and a winner every step of the way.”

After three consecutive seasons with at least 50 receptions, Avant’s production slipped in 2013. But he still caught 38 passes for 447 yards and two touchdowns.

Avant, who is 6-foot, ranks 11th in Eagles history with 297 catches for 3,646 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Avant is known as a possession receiver with sure hands, but lacks the speed to be a consistent vertical threat. His 11.8 yards-per-catch average last season was comparable to his career average of 12.3 yards-per-catch.

The Panthers are in the process of making over their entire receiving group.

Steve Smith, the franchise’s receiving leader, was cut last month, and three other wideouts left in free agency.

Carolina has signed a pair of free agent receivers to two-year deals – former Pittsburgh and N.C. State wideout Jerricho Cotchery and ex-Tampa Bay receiver Tiquan Underwood.

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