The Carolina Panthers wanted to be players in undrafted free agency, and they opened their wallets to do so.
The Panthers gave former Marshall running back Devon Johnson a $20,000 signing bonus, matching the total they gave former Duke star Jeremy Cash, according to league sources.
Carolina signed just seven undrafted free agents following the draft while employing a new strategy to attract bigger fish. In the previous three years following the draft, the Panthers had signed a total of 32 players (10 last year, nine in 2014 and 13 in 2013).
This year the Panthers signed just seven, opting for quality over quantity while paying those top players better.
The Panthers are hoping to turn Johnson into a Mike Tolbert-like fullback. The 6-foot, 235-pounder is known for his bruising style of running and performed well at Carolina’s rookie minicamp last week.