Carolina Panthers

Source: Carolina Panthers to fill big hole on offensive line in free agency

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera on his expectations for the future

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera on the potential for the offense, Julius Peppers' future.
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Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera on the potential for the offense, Julius Peppers' future.

The Carolina Panthers have taken a big step toward reviving their offensive line by agreeing to terms Tuesday afternoon with veteran center Matt Paradis, according to a league source.

Paradis is allowed to sign the deal, which according to the source is worth three years and $27 million, after 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

He will also have to pass a physical first. Paradis broke his fibula last October and had double-hip surgery prior to the 2016 season. He recently told NFL Network that he’ll be cleared to play in June.

But prior to breaking his leg, Paradis had not missed a regular-season snap for Denver since becoming the Broncos’ starting center in 2015.

When cleared, Paradis will be an anchor point on an offensive line that said goodbye to retiring longtime center Ryan Kalil after the 2018 season.

The move also has NFL draft implications.

Paradis, if cleared to play by June, will be Carolina’s starter with backup Tyler Larsen retaining his role or perhaps sliding over to left guard.

Many NFL draft analysts considered North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury to be a prime fit for the Panthers with the No. 16 pick this April.

But Paradis’ signing means the Panthers can use their first-round pick for some much-needed help along the defensive line, or even at left tackle, where the health and status of starter Matt Kalil remains unclear.

Top prospects at tackle in this year’s draft class are Washington State’s Andre Dillard and Alabama’s Jonah Williams.

Tackle has become a position the Panthers need to address this spring, with former starting right tackle Daryl Williams about to test the free agent market in hopes of a high-dollar long-term deal, according to a league source.

The terms of Paradis’ deal make it especially unlikely that the Panthers are fiscally able to bring Williams back, as they enter free agency on Wednesday with about $15 million in salary cap space.

Williams, 26, spent most of the 2018 season on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in the first week of the season. He also injured his knee a month earlier in training camp. After undergoing surgery, Williams is expected to be able to play in 2019.

Without him, the Panthers will start third-year player Taylor Moton at right tackle this season but still must address depth at both left and right tackle in the coming months.

Jourdan has covered the Carolina Panthers as a beat writer since 2016, and froze during Pennsylvania winters as an award-winning Penn State football beat writer before that. A 2014 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, she’s on a never-ending quest for trick plays and the stories that give football fans goosebumps.

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