2014 NFL free agency: Panthers sign WR Jason Avant

Leon Halip

The depth chart is taking shape... at least for 2014.

The Carolina Panthers have signed wide received Jason Avant to a one-year contract, the team announced via its official Twitter account.

Avant began his career in Philadelphia where he remained with the Eagles from 2006-13. Working with a variety of quarterbacks he amassed 3,646 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns, mostly in a reserve role. That said, he stepped up when needed and started 13 games for the team in 2013.

Bleeding Green Nation believes part of the reason Avant was not retained was due to many of the same problems Steve Smith went though last year.

Despite being a positive influence in the Eagles locker room, Avant's age and lack of speed caught up to him last season. He was held to just 38 catches for 447 yards and one touchdown. While he had a career high in starts (13), he also had his lowest reception total and yardage marks since 2008. A strong blocker, Avant was most effective in the run game.

A "positive influence in the locker room." This is a key phrase we'll keep hearing all offseason. If you're thinking of a certain free agent or draft pick, they better have a clean record of interacting well with teammates.

Avant's skill as a run blocker will complement Jerricho Cotchery and could foreshadow a very run-heavy offense in 2014. There will be more pieces added, but that seems to be the modus operandi for the Panthers at this time.

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