Drayton Florence is the biggest free agency signing the Carolina Panthers have made since 2011 -- no, that's not a joke. The veteran immediately becomes the best cornerback on the roster, and we have more background on the ten-year veteran from Panthers.com.
The link between the organization and Florence is a common pipeline, the San Diego Chargers where Ron Rivera coached him in 2007. Gettleman liked that familiarity.
"(Head coach) Ron (Rivera) coached Drayton out in San Diego and that familiarity is another positive factor," Gettleman said. "We are excited to have him."
It's important to have measured expectations. Is there a chance he sees a renaissance like Dwan Edwards did in 2012? Possible, but don't hold out hope. His role will be much the same as Chris Gamble's last year: to mentor the young players, and add some much-needed veteran depth.
"He is a very instinctive and smart player. There isn't much he hasn't seen," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "He still has his speed, he's still explosive. He's a heavy-hitter when he tackles and he has the skills we were looking for. He's a mature guy and he's going to help our young defensive backs learn."
Florence's best season was in 2010, then with the Buffalo Bills. A season where he finished with 58 tackles, 15 passes defended, and three interceptions. His best game in 2012 was against the Indianapolis Colts, where he registered four passes defended, intercepting rookie quarterback Andrew Luck once.
One year veteran signings will be Carolina's plan this year, as Gettleman looks to evaluate the roster before making the most difficult decisions in 2014 -- when he'll need to make long term decisions on Greg Hardy, and decide whether to keep Charles Godfrey, who carries a high cap figure next year.