As he does every year around this time, Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is making under-the-radar moves to try to improve the secondary.
Free-agent cornerback Alan Ball has discussed contract parameters with the Panthers and could finalize a deal Friday when he meets with team officials at Bank of America Stadium, according to a league source.
It is expected to be a one-year deal worth $2 million, with $1 million guaranteed.
Ball, 29, started all 22 games he’s played for Jacksonville over the past two seasons, and has 44 starts in 93 games over his eight-year career.
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Ball, 6-foot-2 and 197 pounds, started seven games last season before a season-ending biceps injury.
He would be the second defensive back to sign with Carolina this week. Free-agent safety Kurt Coleman agreed to a two-year deal Monday and said he hopes to be a starter for Carolina.
Like Coleman, Ball also has a special teams background, although he did not play special teams in Jacksonville. The Panthers are looking to improve a special teams unit that was among the league’s worst in 2014.
Ball, Dallas’ seventh-round pick in 2006 from Illinois, would join a cornerback group that includes starter Josh Norman, Bené Benwikere and Melvin White.
Benwikere became a starter late last season, but could be more valuable at the nickel spot if the Panthers find a dependable corner opposite Norman.
Gettleman has previously used free agency to try to bolster the secondary, with mixed results. He hit on Drayton Florence and Quintin Mikell in 2013, but missed on D.J. Moore.
Last year the Panthers brought in two safeties with ties to the NFC South when they signed Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud.
DeCoud was cut in February after losing his starting spot to rookie Tre Boston late last season. Cornerback Antoine Cason, another free-agent acquisition last year, was cut in December after a disappointing season in which he was one of the league’s lowest-rated corners.
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