According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Panthers will be bringing in former Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud for a visit on Monday.
The Panthers interest in DeCoud is curious to say the least. Despite a Pro Bowl season in 2012, DeCoud regressed terribly in 2013 as he was ranked 83rd out of 86 safeties in the NFL. His struggles mostly came in pass coverage, as quarterbacks averaged a passer rating of 147 when targeting him in coverage. DeCoud also allowed six touchdown passes, which was the worst in the NFL for safeties.
Given DeCoud’s struggles in coverage, it’s unclear what role the 29-year old will have on the Panthers defense, as they already signed Roman Harper in free agency to compete with Robert Lester at the strong safety position. At free safety, Charles Godfrey is the presumed starter, although he is recovering from an Achilles injury. Most likely, the Panthers are looking at DeCoud as an insurance policy if Godfrey’s recovery isn’t progressing as planned.
In other free agency news, the Panthers are also in contract talks with defensive tackle Colin Cole, who started 13 games for the Panthers last season.
Despite not playing for two years prior to the 2013 season, Cole was a solid player for the Panthers. His ability to stop the run at nose tackle allowed Sean McDermott to use rookie Star Lotulelei at the under-tackle position to exploit guards in one-on-one matchups.
Cole is 33, and he likely won’t be more than a one down player for the Panthers moving forward. However, he should come at a cheap price and will be able to provide solid interior defensive line depth.