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Panthers sign offensive tackle Michael Oher to 2-year deal


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

"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.