Tarik Cohen is on the comeback trail. The veteran running back intends to sign with the Panthers practice squad, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Jordan Schultz was first with the news. Joe Person of The Athletic notes that Cohen will sign assuming he passes his physical tomorrow.
Cohen hasn’t seen the field for an NFL game since the 2020 campaign, when he tore his ACL and MCL and fractured his tibial plateau during Week 3. He spent the subsequent 2021 season on PUP before hitting free agency in 2022. While training last May, Cohen ruptured his Achilles tendon, delaying his comeback another year. Last month, the RB indicated that he was ready to continue his NFL career, and the Panthers are the team to give him the shot.
It didn’t take long for the former fourth-round pick to emerge as a productive offensive weapon. Following a rookie season where he collected more than 700 yards from scrimmage, Cohen earned an All-Pro nod with the Bears in 2018 after finishing with 1,169 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. Cohen was also a standout on special teams that season, leading the NFL with 411 punt return yards.
His yards-per-touch dropped to 4.7 during the 2019 campaign, but Cohen still managed to produce 669 yards from scrimmage. The Bears ended up rewarding him for his three productive years, signing the RB to a three-year, $17.25MM deal prior to the 2020 campaign. Cohen boosted that aforementioned yards-per-touch number to 5.8 in the first two-plus games of the 2020 campaign before suffering his career-altering injury.
In Carolina, he’ll be joining a backfield that’s still finding itself in a post-Christian McCaffrey era. The Panthers handed out one of free agency’s largest RB contracts when they inked Miles Sanders to a four-year, $25.4MM deal. The team also still has Chuba Hubbard as their top backup, but they lack experienced depth behind their top duo. Former UDFA Raheem Blackshear is on the active roster, while Spencer Brown and Jashaun Corbin are stashed on the practice squad.