With NFL free agency two-day tampering period off to a slow start for the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, a former starter has inked a surprising new deal in the NFC.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Carolina Panthers are nearing a two-year, $10 million contract with Cameron Erving. The “surprising” part? The deal is expected to include $8 million in guaranteed money.
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NFL World Reacts to Erving Signing
Erving, 28, spent the 2020 season with the Dallas Cowboys, who according to ESPN’s Todd Archer, “weren’t going to pay that much” to retain the six-year journeyman. The 2015 first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns last played for the Chiefs in 2019, his third and final year in Kansas City after starting 25-of-40 games for the club, including a pair of playoff starts in 2018-19.
Erving’s new contract isn’t too far off his most recent extension with the Chiefs — a two-year, $8.27 million deal with $6.45 total guaranteed in 2018 — however his injury history and declining performance combined with a league-wide $15 million salary cap drop makes the Panthers’ offer a headscratcher.
In terms of early opinions of the transaction, USA Today’s Touchdown Wire gave the move a “D” while calling it a “throwaway deal.” Walter Football, known for its over-the-top grades, went off the scale with a scorched Earth “O’BRIEN Grade” in reference to former Houston Texans leadman Bill O’Brien.
Frankly, Erving is a bad player. He’s a replacement-level talent. He has experience, but that doesn’t matter because it’s nothing but bad experience. He’s not even a good backup because there’s no upside.
With that in mind, there was no reason to pay Erving this sort of money. Any sort of guarantee is a mistake. Even six dollars – forget the million – would be too much. This signing deserves an F- grade.
Erving Brings Depth, Versatility to Carolina
On the plus side, Erving does offer his new club a ton of versatility along the frontline, with experience at both guard and tackle. Panthers Wire’s Tim Weaver believes second-year head coach Matt Rhule is looking at Erving as a depth piece only, despite The Athletic’s Joe Person suggesting he could compete for the starting left tackle position.
Taylor Moton is locked in at right tackle after signing his $13.75 million franchise tag and the Panthers likely won’t be starting Erving at left tackle unless something goes horribly wrong these next few months.
Our best guess is coach Matt Rhule sees Erving as a swing tackle who can backup Moton and whoever starts on the blindside. If the Panthers don’t re-sign Russell Okung odds are they will look to pick a left tackle prospect in the early rounds of the draft.
According to Pro Football Focus, Erving has been the culprit of 39 penalties and has surrendered 95 quarterback hurries, 27 quarterback hits and 16.0 sacks in 75 career games (47 starts). Time will tell if the former first-rounder can turn things around in his new home. Depending on playing time next season, he could ultimately net the Cowboys a compensatory draft pick in 2022.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!