The Chicago Bears’ release of one former Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver opened the door for another ex-Panthers wideout.
The Bears signed Armanti Edwards on Tuesday after reaching an injury settlement with Domenik Hixon, who tore the ACL in his right knee for a third time last week during an OTA practice.
Hixon, a six-year veteran who spent the 2013 season with the Panthers, appears to be leaning toward retirement, based on a post to his Twitter account last week.
Hixon, 29, played sparingly during his lone season in Charlotte. But he caught a game-winning, 14-yard touchdown pass in a Week 16 victory win against New Orleans that gave the Panthers control of the NFC South.
Edwards, the former Appalachian State quarterback who led the Mountaineers to consecutive national championships in 2006-07, gets another shot following disappointing stints with Carolina and Cleveland.
Edwards, the Panthers’ third-round pick in 2010, caught five passes in parts of four seasons with Carolina before he was cut last October. He played in two games with the Browns before injuring his ankle.
The Bears also signed veteran wideout Micheal Spurlock.
Ealy, a second-round draft pick selected No. 60 overall, received a bonus of nearly $900,000 after signing the deal last week.
Ealy has a base salary of $420,000 this year, with a cap figure of $645,000. His cap number will be $1.13 million in 2017 in the final year of the deal.
The Panthers have signed four of their six draft choices, with first-round wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin and third-round guard Trai Turner still unsigned.
Ealy could be a bargain if he plays up to the first-round grade that Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman gave him.
Defensive end has been one of the Panthers’ strengths the past two seasons, but there could be changes coming.
Greg Hardy’s status is clouded by pending criminal charges, and he’s currently signed only through this season after receiving a franchise tag worth $13.1 million.
Charles Johnson has cap charges totaling $33.8 million the next two years, and backup defensive end Frank Alexander is suspended the first four games this season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.