PHOENIX Free agent cornerback D.J. Moore might be the most popular player at the Panthers training camp this summer.
Or the second-most popular. Cam Newton will still draw a crowd.
Moore, who signed a one-year deal with the Panthers on Tuesday, grew up in Spartanburg, the teams training camp home. The former Chicago Bears defensive back said he wont mind sleeping in the dorms at Wofford, but figures hell have a few autographs to sign.
I think the hard thing will be coming out and knowing a lot of people that come out to practice, Moore said. Thatll be the funniest part when your coaches are bringing their teams over. I think itll be fun.
Both of the Panthers free agent acquisitions have been corners. Moore joins 10-year veteran Drayton Florence, who was added to bring experience at a position after the Panthers cut Chris Gamble for salary cap reasons. The addition of Moore likely means the end of Captain Munnerlyns tenure in Charlotte. Moore has been used primarily a nickel back, the position Munnerlyn manned the past two seasons.
Munnerlyn, a free agent for the first time, turned down a three-year, $5 million offer from the Panthers last week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Moore, 25, had 10 interceptions over the past three seasons in Chicago, including two he returned for touchdowns. Moore victimized Newton with a 20-yard interception return for a score in 2011.
The 5-9, 180-pound Moore, a fourth-round pick from Vanderbilt in 2009, played in 13 games with two starts last season. He finished with 29 tackles, two interceptions and six pass breakups.
He said he connected with Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott during his visit Tuesday, when the two watched tape of Moore and Carolinas defense. We clicked on a personal level, Moore said.
Moore grew up a Cowboys fan, but pulled for the Panthers, as well. He likes the makeup of the current team. Everybody is young and up-and-coming pretty much. So the sky is pretty much the limit, he said. Last year a break here and there, and the team would have been 10-6 instead of (7-9).
Moore was hoping to get a longer deal, but chalked it up to the soft market for corners this winter. He hopes to play well and become a fixture in Charlotte.
This is where I plan on living when I get done with football, he said.
Panthers bring in Mitchell, Ginn: Oakland free agent safety Mike Mitchell said he has offers from Cincinnati and Carolina, and hopes to make a decision by the end of the week. Mitchell, who has started nine games since the Raiders drafted him in the second round in 2009, said the Bengals and Panthers both said he could compete for a starting spot. Mitchell, who grew up 15 minutes from Cincinnati in northern Kentucky, visited the Panthers on Monday.
The Panthers also hosted receiver/return specialist Ted Ginn Jr., who also is considering the Bengals. Ginn, Miamis first-round pick in 2007, has six career returns for touchdowns.