• October 6, 2018 at 3:35 am

    <div id=”content_id”>The Panthers have signed three potential starters in the second wave of free agency.Carolina signed safety Da’Norris Searcy and cornerback Ross Cockrell to two-year contracts on Friday and guard Jeremiah Sirles to a one-year deal. The financial terms were not released [url=http://www.officialhockeypanthersshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-reimer-jersey]http://www.officialhockeypanthersshop.com/authentic-adidas-james-reimer-jersey[/url] , although Cockrell’s agency Reign Sports Management announced on Twitter his deal was worth $6.8 million.

    Searcy and Cockrell both have North Carolina ties and were teammates before with the Buffalo Bills in 2014. It didn’t take them long to resume their trash talking with Searcy having played at North Carolina and Cockrell from rival Duke.

    “There has been plenty of it already,” Cockrell joked on a conference call Friday.

    Added Searcy: “Oh yeah, it started when we got off the plane. We already played together and we carried that relationship over from Buffalo.”

    All three free agents fill vacancies left from last season and could start for the Panthers in 2018.

    Searcy was brought in to compete for a starting safety position that opened up when the team released veteran Kurt Coleman.

    Searcy is a seven-year NFL veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Titans after four seasons (2011-14) with the Bills. His most productive season came in 2014 when he had 65 tackles and three interceptions.

    Searcy played in all 16 games last season for the Titans with six starts, recording 27 tackles, one quarterback pressure, one interception and two passes defensed. He also had six stops on special teams.

    He lost his starting job last season, but said he still sees himself as a starter.

    “Situations change,” Searcy said. “I took it on the chin and still helped the team and played excellent when I was there. I will carry myself as a starter and let the chips fall where they may.”

    Cockrell, a four-year NFL veteran, is expected to compete for the starting cornerback spot created when Panthers general manager Marty Hurney traded away Daryl Worley to the Eagles for wide receiver Torrey Smith earlier this month.

    “I am ready to come in and make plays on the ball,” Cockrell said. That is what I do.”

    Cockrell played in all 16 regular season games with nine starts for the Giants last season and led the team with 11 passes defensed. He also had 49 tackles and a career-high three interceptions [url=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/landon-collins-jersey]Womens Landon Collins Jersey[/url] , including one he returned for a touchdown.

    He was drafted in the fourth round in 2014 and has played in 53 career games with 31 starts over his four-year career. Since entering the league he has recorded 153 total tackles, 32 passes defensed and five interceptions.

    It will be a homecoming for Cockrell, who grew up in the Charlotte area and played at Charlotte Latin High School.

    “It’s a great pleasure to come back and rekindle some family ties,” Cockrell said. “This is great place to play football. We are not too far removed from a 15-1 season and a Super Bowl.”

    Sirles enters his fifth season, having spent the past three with the Vikings and will have a chance to compete for the starting guard spot vacated when All-Pro Andrew Norwell signed with the New York Giants.

    Sirles has played in 30 career NFL games with 15 starts.

    He played in 14 regular season games with four starts last season for the Vikings, with all four coming at left guard.

    The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Sirles helped the Vikings rank seventh in the NFL in rushing yards with 122.3 yards per game. In his starts, Minnesota averaged 132 yards rushing yards per game, nearly 10 yards more than the season average.

    He started a career-high 10 games while playing in 14 in 2016.

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    BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Joel Bitonio doesn’t know if he’ll play left tackle or guard in Sunday’s opener.

    “I just do what I’m told,” he said.

    No one has told him anything.

    Cleveland’s offensive line remains in limbo — and mysterious — just days ahead of a Week 1 matchup with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Coach Hue Jackson [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-jesper-bratt-jersey]Jesper Bratt Jersey Kids[/url] , who last week said he may shift the left side again, refused to disclose any plans following Monday’s practice.

    “Right now, it is the way that is has been,” said Jackson, who slid Bitonio from guard to tackle during training camp. “Nothing has changed in that way. We have a week. We do not play until Sunday. We are going to figure it out and put the best five guys out there.”

    Jackson said he “has a pretty good idea” of what he wants to do, but he’s not ready to share his strategy publicly — or, it seems, with his players.

    Bitonio laughed when asked if he’s still a left tackle.

    “That’s a good question,” he said. “I think coach is going to come back Wednesday and give us a definite answer. I’m ready for both, though. Whatever they put me at, I’m ready to go and play some football finally.”

    The Browns knew left tackle would be a major issue after 10-time Pro Bowler Joe Thomas retired in March. The team gave former right tackle Shon Coleman and rookie Austin Corbett a crack at taking Thomas’ old spot before switching to Bitonio [url=http://www.officialdevils.com/authentic-adidas-taylor-hall-jersey]Authentic Taylor Hall Jersey[/url] , who did well during three exhibition games at a position he hadn’t played since college.

    Now, Bitonio might go back to guard and replace Corbett with undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison starting at tackle.

    It’s hardly an ideal scenario to be so unsettled this close to the opener.

    “I wouldn’t say it’s awkward,” Bitonio said. “I think it’s just trying to get the best five guys out there and it’s taking a little more time than we would have hoped.”

    The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Harrison has emerged as an option in recent weeks following a solid camp. Harrison played at Texas before sitting out two seasons and transferring to West Georgia.

    “He has improved,” Jackson said. “It gives you another option to look through to see who are the best five guys to put out there — him, (OL Gregg) Robinson. Robinson has improved. I have seen a lot of good things over the last week and a half. My job is to make sure that we put the best players out there, period. Whatever position it is, that is what we are supposed to do. In those situations, that is what we are going to do.”

    Bitonio said Harrison is the team’s most athletic lineman.

    “He can move, man,” Bitonio said. “He’s athletic. He has the length. He has the size. He’s the prototypical left tackle when you think of a left tackle. He’s like 6-6 [url=http://www.officialflames.com/authentic-adidas-sean-monahan-jersey]Sean Monahan Jersey[/url] , long arms, can get back and set. He’s done some good things. I know he hasn’t played against the ones (starters) all the time but when he’s been out there he’s made some good plays. We’re just making sure he has the right mindset and understands what he’s doing every play.”

    As he waits to see which position he’ll play, Bitonio took a friendly swipe at Thomas, one of his close friends.

    Bitonio was asked what it says that an undrafted free agent could replace a future Hall of Famer.

    “He’s a little overrated, huh?” Bitonio quipped.

    NOTES: WR Josh Gordon returned to practice for the first time since minicamp in June, and appears on track to play in the opener. Gordon missed more than three weeks in camp to get counseling and treatment in Florida connected to his substance abuse problems. He tweaked a hamstring while conditioning and was held out last week. Jackson reiterated Gordon will not start, “but he is going to play.” Gordon was suspended for the 2015 and 2016 seasons and the first 11 games last year. He came back and caught 18 passes for 335 yards in five games. … TE Seth DeValve (quadriceps), S Damarious Randall (knee), rookie LB Genard Avery (hip) also returned to practice. DeValve missed the entire preseason.

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