The Carolina Panthers have decided they couldn’t go into the season with the same receiving group they’ve had in the two weeks following Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending ACL tear.
The Panthers traded with the Seattle Seahawks for second-year receiver Kevin Norwood on Monday, bringing in a young, 6-foot-2 receiver after a string of injuries and drops in their group.
In exchange, the Panthers sent an undisclosed 2017 draft pick to Seattle. The pick is likely a conditional, late-round selection.
“Kevin gives us another player to compete at the wide receiver position,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “He has the size you look for along with toughness and smarts. We studied him a lot going into last year’s draft and we look forward to having him as part of our receiving corps.”
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Norwood, a fourth-round selection in 2014, played in just nine games last season and caught nine passes for 102 yards. He was squeezed out of Seattle’s depth chart with the strong play of rookie Tyler Lockett in the preseason.
Norwood won three national championships with Alabama in college. His best season was his senior year in 2013 when he had 38 catches for 568 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Panthers apparently saw what life after Benjamin was for 2015 and decided they needed help. Corey Brown has dropped two would-be touchdowns in consecutive exhibitions, rookie Devin Funchess has been troubled by a hamstring and veteran Jerricho Cotchery has a groin injury that will keep him out until Week 1.
“You don’t know who’s out there. Once we get through it, who knows?” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said following Monday’s practice. “Maybe there’s a veteran that might pop and he might be somebody that would fit us in terms of what we’re looking for.”
The Panthers trading for a player is rare. Carolina hasn’t traded for a specific player since the 2012 preseason when it acquired Colin Jones from the 49ers for a seventh-round pick. This is the first time Gettleman has ever traded for a player in his tenure as Carolina’s general manager.