Carolina Panthers tight end Chris Manhertz has signed a two-year deal Tuesday to remain with the team through the 2020 season.
The former Canisus College basketball player was picked up by Carolina on waivers after he was waived by the New Orleans Saints in October 2016, and has established himself as a blocking tight end in the time since. Manhertz was slated to enter restricted free agency this offseason, so the timing of the deal came as a relief.
“We just started talking after the season, and both sides were interested,” he told the Observer on Tuesday. “It’s something I personally wanted to get done and over with, so I’m glad things have come into fruition.”
Manhertz has played in 39 games with the Panthers, logging his first career touchdown against his former team during a Monday Night Football matchup in Week 15. He has five receptions for 79 yards and a score in two-and-a-half seasons with the team.
He was originally signed by Buffalo as an undrafted free agent on New Year’s Eve in 2014 but was released the following August before the Saints signed him to a one-year-deal. His development in Carolina since his arrival in 2016 was a key factor in his decision to re-sign, as well as the path he believes the Panthers’ coaching staff has him on.
“The coaching staff and what they’ve been able to do with me in my personal development since I got here — I think that’s something not to be overlooked on my end,” he said. “The trajectory for things and how I see myself as a player developing in the future, I’m very confident this is an organization that can help me do that.
“I’ve grown to like Charlotte a lot since I’ve been here and if I like something — if it ain’t broken, I’m not going to try to fix it. I think it was just a no-brainer for me.”
The fourth-year pro plays a position the Panthers have heavily addressed over the past two seasons. With starter Greg Olsen’s foot injuries causing him to miss 16 combined games in that time frame, Carolina added Manhertz and drafted Ian Thomas in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL draft.