The Panthers parted ways Sunday with defensive tackle Terrell McClain, last year’s third-round draft pick, and replaced him with free agent Dwan Edwards, an eight-year veteran who was cut Friday by the Buffalo Bills.
Terms of Edwards’ deal were not immediately available.
Edwards, 31, played the last two seasons with the Buffalo Bills after spending six years with the Baltimore Ravens. The 6-foot-3, 301-pound Edwards has played in 85 games with 45 starts during his NFL career. He had 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year for the Bills.
Although McClain started 12 games last year as a rookie, the Panthers were unhappy with his lack of consistency in training camp.
”Terrell played well in spots for us last year but every year you have to be the best you can at evaluating players,” Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. ”It was just a lack of consistency plus the fact that we had an opportunity to get a guy like Dwan Edwards.”
Hurney called Edwards ”the ultimate pro” and a player with tremendous work ethic.
Coach Ron Rivera was pleased with the move and feels it will be an upgrade for the Panthers defense.
”Dwan gives us something we didn’t really see in training camp and that is a guy who’s a dominant force at the three technique,” Rivera said. ”We had a couple of guys that were young and learning and trying to develop and come back but didn’t field what we were looking for. Dwan is a big physical guy who’s explosive off the ball and is a vertical rusher. And that’s what we’re looking for.”
Edwards is expected to start in Carolina alongside another defensive tackle with the same surname — Ron Edwards.
Edwards said he was thrilled to land on his feet so quickly after being released.
”It’s great to be wanted,” Edwards said. ”You’re in demand and that’s nice.”
Edwards said his goal is to come in and get acquainted with the team’s defensive scheme as quickly as possible and be ready to go Sunday when the Panthers open the season on the road against Tampa Bay.
”I know they want to play fast and make plays,” Edwards said. ”They have great linebackers and I want to allow them to run around and make plays like they’re capable of. I want to come in and help anyway I can.”
McClain becomes the latest third-round draft pick bust for the Panthers, joining recent draft flops that include defensive tackles Corvey Irvin and Atiyyah Ellison and running back Eric Shelton.
The Panthers selected McClain with the first pick in the third round last year, 65th overall.
While the Panthers were pleased with his play at times last year that didn’t translate over to this summer. The Panthers kept defensive Frank Kearse, an undrafted player they signed off Miami’s practice squad last year, instead of McClain.