The Panthers are scheduled to host wide receiver Jason Avant and free safety Thomas DeCoud in Charlotte tomorrow, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
The team’s receivers have been subjected to the most significant upheaval of any position group in the NFL over the past few weeks with the departures of Steve Smith (to the Ravens), Brandon LaFell (to the Patriots), Ted Ginn Jr. (to the Cardinals), and Domenik Hixon (to the Bears). Although last week’s additions of Jerricho Cotchery and Tiquan Underwood will provide depth for the new-look Panthers’ receiving corps, Avant would be likely be a much more highly utilized target should he choose to sign with Carolina. Although he was only marginally effective in 2013, Avant, who played his first eight seasons for the Eagles, enjoyed the best three seasons of his career from 2010-2012, averaging over 50 receptions per year.
DeCoud’s visit raises significant questions regarding the status of former starting free safety Charles Godfrey. Godfrey, whose $7.1MM 2014 cap figure makes him the fifth-highest paid player on the Panthers’ roster, was thought to be a candidate for a contract restructure after missing the final 14 games of the last season with a torn achilles. While DeCoud started for the Falcons for the last five years and is a former Pro Bowler, he had by far the worst season of his career in 2013- registering just 44 tackles and failing to intercept a pass for the first time since becoming a starter.