As Cam Newton’s backup, Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson doesn’t get on the field much.
But the former NFL starter and one-time Pro Bowler knows and likes his role in Charlotte. And the Panthers like Anderson.
The 29-year-old free agent signed a 1-year contract Friday to return to Carolina for a third season.
It’s the third such 1-year deal the Panthers have given Anderson, who was a starter for parts of five seasons with Cleveland and Arizona.
Terms were not disclosed, although Anderson made the veteran minimum of $825,000 last year.
Anderson went to the Pro Bowl with the Browns in 2007, when Rob Chudzinski was Cleveland’s offensive coordinator. Chudzinski, the Panthers’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons, was instrumental in bringing Anderson to Charlotte.
When Chudzinski became the Browns’ coach in January, there was speculation Anderson would join him in Cleveland. Anderson fueled the talk with a Facebook post about taking care of “unfinished business” with the Browns.
But he ended up back in Charlotte, backing up the durable, 6-5, 245-pound Newton.
Anderson has played in four games in two years with Carolina, completing all four of his passes for 58 yards. When Newton was out for several plays in a Week 17 win at New Orleans last season, Anderson came in and moved the offense efficiently until Newton returned.
The Panthers have all three of their quarterbacks under contract.
Third-string quarterback Jimmy Clausen, a starter as a rookie in 2010, has been inactive for every game since Newton and Anderson arrived. Clausen is due to make $630,000 this year, with a cap figure of $952,000.
With Anderson signed, the Panthers have six free agents remaining. The priorities remain defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who received a 1-year offer from Carolina, and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.
Free agent wideout Louis Murphy visited the Giants on Friday, while the Panthers seem to have little interest in bringing back offensive lineman Mike Pollak, defensive end Antwan Applewhite or safety Sherrod Martin.
PANTHERS EXERCISE OPTION ON TOLBERT: Carolina exercised a $1.5 million club option on running back Mike Tolbert, taking the contract of the short-yardage specialist through the 2015 season.
Tolbert, the former Chargers back, will make base salaries of $1 million in 2013, $2.3 million in 2014, and $2.4 million in 2015. Tobert led the Carolina backs last season with seven rushing touchdowns and 27 receptions.
WILLIAMS VISITS: The Panthers brought offensive lineman Chris Williams, a former first-round pick of the Bears, in for a visit Friday, according to Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange. Williams, the 14th overall pick in 2008, finished last season in St. Louis after the Bears cut him in October.
The former Vanderbilt standout appeared in only three games in 2012, with no starts.
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