2013 Carolina Panthers free agency: Colin Cole signs with team

Dilip Vishwanat

There's a lot we can learn about Dave Gettleman's first free agent signing

The Carolina Panthers have signed their first free agent since Dave Gettleman took over as general manager, and it's an extremely curious decision as Colin Cole is brought aboard, after being out of the NFL since 2010.

Signing with the Panthers early this morning, according to Pro Football Talk. Cole was released by the Seattle Seahawks prior to the 2011 season due to injury. The 32-year-old nose tackle has nine years of NFL experience, with his best season coming in 2009 -- a year he amassed 48 tackles.

A solid, low-risk signing at the veteran minimum -- it remains to be seen what Cole's role will be with the Panthers. There's a chance he's here for depth, likely supplanting either Frank Kearse or Sione Fua; however, there's also a possibility that Carolina will be playing this year as cheaply as possible, and perhaps Cole is seen as a low-cost replacement for Ron Edwards, who will likely be cut due to his cap figure.

How the nose tackle spot is handled this off-season will be a litmus test for the entire organization's vision for the 2013 season. Will they be playing to be competitive, or simply playing out the year as cheaply as possible to get out from under Marty Hurney's contracts? Fans will hope it's the former, but for the long-term future, the latter may be more prudent.

Season Team Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
G GS Comb Total Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF
2010 Seattle Seahawks 11 11 44 36 8 1.0 -- 5 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2009 Seattle Seahawks 16 15 48 29 19 0.0 -- 2 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2008 Green Bay Packers 16 0 30 19 11 0.5 -- 4 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2007 Green Bay Packers 7 0 12 7 5 0.0 -- 1 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2006 Green Bay Packers 15 3 37 28 9 1.0 -- 0 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 1
2005 Green Bay Packers 16 4 40 24 16 2.0 -- 1 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2004 Green Bay Packers 3 1 7 6 1 0.0 -- 0 -- -- 0.0 -- -- 0
2003 Detroit Lions 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 0.0 -- -- --
2003 Minnesota Vikings 0 0 0 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 0.0 -- -- --
TOTAL 218 149 69 4.5 0 13 0 0 -- 0 0 1
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