Roman Harper (41) leaves the field after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. The Saints defeated the Eagles 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Roman Harper signs with Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have found their replacement for departed safety Mike Mitchell, who quickly signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers to replace their impending free agent FS Ryan Clark. Mitchell was a tough loss for the Panthers to swallow due to his youth, leadership, breakout 2013, and ability to play at either safety spot. The Panthers showed interest in Clark, but they have decided to sign a different safety who has been on their radar for a few days.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Panthers have agreed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal with a $1.5 million signing bonus with former New Orleans Saints safety Roman Harper. The deal is cheap so it can’t be truly disliked, but the Saints easy cap casualty is a clear downgrade on Mitchell. He isn’t even close to being as good in coverage as Mitchell, but at least he has experience and is a very good blitzing safety.

It’s going to be interesting to see what the 31-year-old’s role with the team will be, but all he does at this point in his career is rack up tackles and run safety blitzes. I fully expect him to line up exclusively as a strong safety when Charles Godfrey, who excels in deep coverage, is lined up as the FS next to him. This deal is definitely an inexpensive one for the Panthers, and Dave Gettleman likely decided to sign the long-time rival S over Clark due to his cheaper price tag. He can also make plays, and options at the safety position were thin anyway. The Panthers, of course, still need plenty of help at CB, OT, and WR for obvious reasons.

Tags: Carolina Panthers Roman Harper Transactions

  • Fred

    31 year old safety….maybe the Panthers will get 3-4 years out of him, but may be a gamble on whether he stays healthy.

    • Joe Soriano

      They are only looking to get two years out of him, and that’s all they would ever want to get anyway. As long as he can be a passable starter, the Panthers will be fine with their return given how cheap this deal is. But the Panthers desperately need help at CB, OT, and WR and have still failed to fill needs at any of those three positions.

      • holymomentumbatman#84

        I live a stone’s throw from Bank of America Stadium and the Carolina Panthers. I’ve seen them play PLENTY…for years. Mike Mitchell wasn’t exactly spectacular in his 4 seasons as a Raider, but had a 2013 year with the Panthers that just about made up for ALL of his career at Oakland. The potential finally leaked through, and he really liked it here. All indications pointed to a real find for Carolina…for quite a few more seasons. So what does Gettleman do?? Dumb***. He starts his “reign of terror” by letting the most loved, most talented, most popular player, mentor, and the LAST ORIGINAL PANTHER THERE WAS WALK…WITHOUT EVEN AN OFFER OF A RESTRUCTURE, A REASONABLE PAY CUT…NOTHING!!! Fellow Panther fans will be absolutely DISGUSTED with Dave Gettleman for years to come! Steve Smith was a GOD, an ICON here. NO WAY he was EVER LEAVING!!! Insert Dave Gettleman and POOF!! Instant heartbreak and instant hate simultaneously. I don’t know which one will last longer. Dumb*** move #2…bye-bye Ted Ginn, Jr., who was a GOLDEN STEAL and a HIGHLIGHT REEL here. Now comes dumb*** move #3, AND COUNTING, Mike Mitchell is a Pittsburgh Steeler faster than the speed of light, and replaced by, even though a well experienced, talented, but a slower 31 year old. Please understand, I know Roman Harper is a well-known, most probably well respected name to many, many fans, AND the NFL, but it seems to me that the new GM in Carolina is an expert at (1) making a lot of enemies (fans), and (2) transforming a team from legitimate playoff contenders into cellar dwellers. Riverboat Ron and company better have a MIRACLE up their collective sleeves. Good luck, Panthers.

        • Joe Soriano

          Here’s the part that bothered me the most about the Smith saga; they hinted at a possible release to the media before even talking to Smith. That’s a jerk move.