Panthers sign FS Thomas DeCoud

Kevin C. Cox

It's not earth-shattering, but it doesn't have to be.

The Carolina Panthers strengthened their secondary on Thursday with the announcement that free agent safety Thomas DeCoud has a two-year contract signed with the team.

DeCoud began his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 2008 and quickly became one of the most underrated safeties in the league. His ball hawking ability garnered Pro Bowl recognition in 2012 after registering 76 tackles and six interceptions.

His play took a noticeable step back last season thanks in part to a lack of pass rush by the Falcons. DeCoud was too often left on an island and forced to stop top-level wide receivers who had too much time thanks to quarterbacks having a comfortable pocket. That won't be a problem in Carolina where he'll be supported by one of the best defensive lines in football, hopefully resulting in a return to form.

Perhaps the most significant element of DeCoud's signing is what the move means for Charles Godfrey. The Panthers veteran safety figured to slot into the free safety position along side Roman Harper, but Godfrey carries a large cap number and could be a Jun. 1 cut, saving the team roughly $5 million in 2014.

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