The Carolina Panthers will have a new backup tight end behind Greg Olsen next season.
With Ed Dickson signing a three-year contract with Seattle on Friday, the Panthers are hosting former North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron on a free agent visit, according to league sources.
Ebron, 24, the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, was cut by Detroit this week in a move that saved the Lions $8.25 million.
Ebron averaged 47 receptions and 518 yards over his four seasons with the Lions. But Ebron struggled with drops and often bore the brunt of fan criticism after Detroit drafted him ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald.
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Ebron, who grew up in Greensboro, left UNC as the career leader among tight ends with 112 catches for 1,805 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished with the second-most receptions of any tight end in ACC history, behind Virginia’s Heath Miller.
The Panthers had Seahawks free agent tight end Luke Willson in for a visit Thursday, but Willson left Charlotte without a contract.
Dickson, 30, is expected to move into more of a full-time role with Seattle, which saw starting tight end Jimmy Graham go to the Packers in free agency. Dickson’s deal is worth a maximum of $14 million and includes a $2.6 million signing bonus, the source said.
Dickson had his best season with the Panthers in 2017 when he started half the year in place of an injured Olsen.
Dickson pulled down 30 passes for 437 yards and a touchdown. In a Week 5 win at Detroit he became the only player in franchise history with two catches of 50-plus yards in a game.