Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers sign 2nd-round pick Devin Funchess

The Carolina Panthers have their entire draft class under contract after signing second-round pick Devin Funchess to a four-year deal Monday.

Terms of the deal were not announced, although Funchess is projected to make about $5.5 million over the length of the contract under the NFL’s rookie wage scale.

With Funchess’ deal done, the Panthers have finalized the contracts for all five of their picks.

The Panthers traded their second-, third- and sixth-round picks to move up 16 spots and draft the former Michigan receiver with the 41st overall selection.

Funchess, 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds, will team with Kelvin Benjamin, last year’s first-round pick, to give the Panthers one of the biggest receiving tandems in the league.

Funchess caught 126 passes for 1,715 yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons for the Wolverines. After running the 40 in 4.7 seconds at the combine, Funchess later was timed in 4.47 seconds at Michigan’s pro day.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said he wasn’t concerned about Funchess’ 40 time, adding he believes Funchess has good game speed.

During the rookie minicamp last weekend, Funchess left Friday’s practice early after cramping in the heat. He received IV fluids and returned Saturday, when he made it through the full two-hour session.

Funchess, who grew up in Michigan, said he has to get acclimated before the Panthers’ training camp in Spartanburg.

“It’s a jump coming from 55 (degrees) to 82, so it hit me hard,” Funchess said Friday. “My body’s got to get used to it.”

Panthers eye Swearinger: The Panthers are discussing whether to put in a claim for former Houston safety D.J. Swearinger, who was waived by the Texans on Monday, according to a source.

Swearinger, a second-round pick from South Carolina in 2013, started 23 games in two seasons with Houston. But his responsibilities changed last season under new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who was hired along with first-year head coach Bill O’Brien in 2014.

The Texans had been trying to trade Swearinger, a big hitter who finished with 73 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles and two interceptions in 2014. Pro Football Focus ranked Swearinger 78 among 87 eligible safeties last season.

Swearinger went to Greenwood High in South Carolina, the same school that produced Panthers cornerback Josh Norman and former wideout Armanti Edwards.

Kuechly wins Butkus Award: Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly recently became a two-time winner of the Butkus Award, which honors the top linebacker in high school, college and the NFL.

Kuechly, a two-time Pro Bowler and the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, became the fourth player to win the award at two levels.

Kuechly, the Butkus winner in 2011 following his junior season at Boston College, joins Von Miller, Patrick Willis and Manti Te’o (high school and college) as players who have won it on two tiers. DeMarcus Ware has won the NFL award twice.

Kuechly led the NFL in tackles for the second time in three seasons with 153 stops in 2014. He added a career-high 12 pass breakups, with one interception.

Tryout players signed: The Panthers signed five of the 35 tryout players who participated in their rookie minicamp to contracts, including a former Coastal Carolina quarterback-turned-tight end.

The Panthers added defensive end Rakim Cox, offensive linemen Ronald Patrick and Jordan McCray, former Stanford fullback Lee Ward and ex-Coastal Carolina tight end Jamie Childers to their roster.

The team waived ex-Florida defensive tackle Darious Cummings, an undrafted free agent from Florida who left two minicamp practices early due to an unspecified illness.

The moves put the Panthers at the NFL limit of 90 players.

Childers, 26, was an accomplished high school quarterback in the Charleston area before signing with Coastal Carolina, where he started three games at quarterback before switching positions.

Cox, 6-4 and 268 pounds, participated in the inaugural veteran combine in March after playing with a couple of teams last season. He had nine sacks as a senior at Villanova before signing with Minnesota as an undrafted free agent last year.

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