Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell (11) runs after making a catch during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers during the 2013 NFC divisional playoff football game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers in negotiations

The Carolina Panthers desperately needed to find a top No. 1 wide receiver to replace released franchise icon Steve Smith, but their top option decided to sign a one-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts instead. With Hakeem Nicks off of the board, it looks like the Panthers will have to settle on signing a less-heralded wide receiver before juggling their WR and OT needs in the NFL Draft.

Brandon LaFell has received interest from the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, but right now it looks like it’s more likely for him to re-sign with the Carolina Panthers. Not only have the Panthers shown interest in him for a couple of days now, but the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person also reports that GM Dave Gettleman and the four-year pro are in negotiations.

The 2013 season was probably the best of LaFell’s career, as the 27-year-old LSU product caught 49 passes for 627 yards and five touchdowns, and he also gave the Panthers some more solid blocking on the outside. He has talent, but he’s just a top WR3 at this point and isn’t good enough to be considered a legitimate WR2. But he’ll be their No. 2 guy next season if he re-signs, and he was their No. 2 guy last season. LaFell also has interest from the New York Jets, so we’ll see if the Panthers can keep him.

Tags: Brandon LaFell Carolina Panthers

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