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Panthers sign offensive tackle Michael Oher to 2-year deal

SING IT FROM THE TREETOPS! YELL IT FROM THE MOUNTAINS!

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers made their first major signing of free agency by inking left tackle Michael Oher to a two-year contract. While he wasn't the biggest name of free agency there's no question he'll make the most impact.

The reason for this assertion is simple: Byron Bell was terrible. Offensive line troubles have plagued the Panthers for the last two seasons, exacerbated by Jordan Gross' retirement in 2012. Finally the team has a veteran presence on the line other than Ryan Kalil, and someone who's legitimately an NFL caliber talent. Look, Oher wasn't great last year -- but he wasn't a dumpster fire. Baby steps.

Oher was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens where he became a cultural sensation. His personal story of rising from adversity to playing at Ole Miss was immortalized in the movie "The Blind Side," and while he never made a huge impact on the league he's been a reliable presence at left tackle for the Ravens and most-recently the Tennessee Titans.

Oher knows the Panthers' staff well, working under offensive line coach Mike Masko during the pair's time in Baltimore. The 28-year-old offensive tackle said the following to Panthers.com:

"I'm excited to be joining an organization that knows how to win. They've won the past two division championships, and I'm excited to be a part of it," Oher said. "When I came here on a visit, the culture was great. They're very into winning and doing everything possible to win."

This is a wonderful signing for Carolina and finally gives Cam Newton more protection. Many fans were hoping for the splashier signing of Brian Bulaga, but this is a very good move, make no mistake.