While they wait on the decision of free agent receiver Jerricho Cotchery, the Carolina Panthers are moving to address another gaping hole on their roster – cornerback.
The Panthers have been in discussions with Arizona Cardinals free agent corner Antoine Cason, league sources said Wednesday. News of the Panthers’ interest in Cason came a day after New York Giants free agent cornerback Terrell Thomas was in Charlotte meeting with Carolina.
Cason was scheduled to visit the Panthers on Wednesday, but the trip was canceled amid Cason’s decision to change agents. Cason hired Drew Rosenhaus to represent him this week, the sources said.
Cason played in San Diego when Panthers coach Ron Rivera and secondary coach Steve Wilks were on the Chargers’ staff.
Cason, 27, a six-year veteran with 14 career interceptions, did not start for Arizona last season after signing a one-year deal last offseason. Former Colts corner Jerraud Powers beat out Cason for the starting spot opposite Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Cason played only 10 defensive snaps in a Week 5 win against the Panthers, but had a fumble recovery. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton chased down Cason to prevent a touchdown.
Cason, who played collegiately at Arizona, was a first-round pick of the Chargers in 2008 when Rivera was San Diego’s defensive coordinator. Cason started 14 games or more during his last three seasons in San Diego from 2010-2012.
The Panthers are looking to replace two of their top three cornerbacks from last season.
Captain Munnerlyn signed a three-year deal with Minnesota last week. Drayton Florence, 33, is an unrestricted free agent who is not expected to return to Carolina.
Second-year corner Melvin White started 10 games as a rookie last season after the Panthers signed him as an undrafted free agent.
In addition to corners, the Panthers continue to search for receivers to fill the void left by Steve Smith’s release and the departure of three other wideouts – Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon – via free agency.
Cotchery, wrapped up a two-day visit to Charlotte to Tuesday, but left without a signed contract. Cotchery, 31, who spent the past three seasons in Pittsburgh, will choose between the Panthers and Steelers, according to a league source.
Cotchery’s negotiations likely hinge on whether the Steelers sign former New Orleans receiver Lance Moore, who visited Pittsburgh on Wednesday after being released by the Saints earlier this month.
Cotchery, a two-time, All-ACC selection when he played at N.C. State, caught 46 passes for 602 yards and a career-high 10 touchdowns in 2013.