Add another name to the Carolina Panthers’ safety competition.
Tre Boston returned to the Panthers on Thursday after signing a one-year contract reportedly worth up to $3 million. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the deal on Wednesday.
Boston, a former North Carolina standout, was drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft. He played for the Panthers from 2014 through 2016, starting 16 games over that span, and was part of the 2015 Super Bowl team.
Boston’s return comes a day after Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the team was still evaluating all its options at the open free safety position. Last year’s third-rounder, Rashaan Gaulden, began training camp as the presumed favorite to win that job, but has rotated with former Charlotte Latin and Duke star Ross Cockrell in recent days.
“You’re going to see a lot of (different) combinations out there,” Rivera said after Wednesday’s training camp practice. “We’ve got some holes that we want to make sure to fill and some questions to be answered.”
Boston should immediately compete to start alongside Eric Reid at safety, while Gaulden may see more looks in the team’s “big nickel” package moving forward. The Panthers have one more training camp practice in Spartanburg before returning to Charlotte for the team’s annual Fan Fest.
ESPN NFL reporter Josina Anderson said Boston told her he signed with Carolina because, “the defense was missing one piece, so why not help my brothers out and finish what we started.”
This story has been updated to reflect Boston’s official signing.