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Brandon Boykin to Panthers: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Brandon Boykin (25) takes part in drills during an NFL practice in Pittsburgh, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2016

The Carolina Panthers announced Monday they signed cornerback Brandon Boykin

"This is the best opportunity I could possibly ask for," Boykin said, per the team's Twitter account.

According to Black & Blue Review, Boykin had "at least four" offers on the table before deciding to join Carolina.

"Money is important, but it's not the absolute end all, be all," he said, per Black & Blue Review. "It was really just a no-brainer. The stars just aligned."

Panthers safety Kurt Coleman welcomed his newest teammate:

Boykin spent the 2015 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, making 25 combined tackles and intercepting one pass in 16 regular-season games. Pro Football Focus gave the 25-year-old a 76.9 overall grade, including an 80.4 grade in coverage, which are both second-highest among Panthers cornerbacks. He joins a secondary that ranked second in pass-defense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) in 2015, per Football Outsiders.

Josh Norman is set to occupy one of Carolina's two starting cornerback spots after the team used the franchise tag on him earlier this month. Bene Benwikere is the likely candidate to start opposite Norman, leaving Boykin as the nickelback spot. According to Max Henson of the Panthers' official website, he's looking forward to the opportunity:

Boykin will be a better option for Carolina than Cortland Finnegan was last season. Once a Pro Bowl-caliber defender, Finnegan stopped being that player a few years ago. Boykin, on the other hand, is entering the prime of his career. Football Outsiders' Scott Kacsmar also argued the Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles failed to get the most out of Boykin during his time with them:

Entering the offseason, the Panthers didn't have too many issues to address on the defensive side of the ball. In January, John Breitenbach of Football Outsiders identified cornerback depth as one of those few areas of concern.

Boykin was one of the better nickelbacks on the free-agent market, and his presence will provide Norman with support in defending the pass. Boykin's arrival is exactly what the Panthers needed to shore up the secondary.

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