Carolina's Top-Five Free Agent Signings Ever
One of the NFL’s youngest franchises, the Carolina Panthers have had their share of successes and failures when dealing with free agents.
As the Panthers move forward with their offseason plans for 2010, here is a look back at the five-best free agent signings in Panthers franchise history, from the team’s inaugural season in 1995 until this present offseason of 2010.
5) Stephen Davis, Running back
Released by the Redskins in Feb. 2003, the 29-year-old Davis quickly found a new home in Carolina.
While with the Panthers, Davis rushed for a career high-1,444 yards and had eight touch downs in 2003.
He finished in the top three for MVP voting that year and helped the Panthers reach Super Bowl XXXVIII.
But nagging injuries derailed Davis' career with the Panthers as he was placed on injured reserve the following season.
Unable to break into the starting lineup again, Davis was released two years later.
4) John Kasey, Kicker
After spending the first four years of his career in Seattle, John Kasey left the Seahawks in 1995 and headed to Carolina, to join the NFL's newest franchise.
In his second year as a Panther, Kasey made the Pro Bowl after booting a then record 37 made field goals in a single-season.
Kasey is the Panthers' all-time points leader, ranks third in the NFL for most field goals made beyond 50 yards, and is the only NFL player to make four field goals from beyond 46 yards in a single game.
3) Wesley Walls, Tight End
Walls had accomplished a lot in the first five season of his NFL career-winning a Super Bowl with the 49ers and setting a team record in receptions for tight end with the Saints in 1995.
But it wasn't until Walls joined the Panthers as a free agent in 1996, that his career really began to take off.
From 1996 until 2001, Walls made the Pro Bowl five times. Missing it only in 2000, due to injuries.
Walls grabbed 42 touchdowns and had just under 4,000 receiving for his career as a Panther and was considered one of the NFL's elite tight ends during his time in Carolina.
In 2003, Walls left the Panthers to join the Packers, where he played one season before retiring.
2) Steve Beuerlein, Quarterback
Beuerlein was a nine-year veteran and played with four different NFL franchises before he joined the Panthers in 1996.
As a Panther, Beuerlein's best season came in 1999 when he set franchise single-season records for passing yards, touchdowns, and completions.
The only Pro Bowl appearance of his career came in 1999, when he threw 36 touchdowns and led the league with 4,436 passing yards as a Panthers.
Beuerlein joined the Broncos in 2001 before returning to the Panthers in 2004 and retiring.
He held career franchise records in passing yards, touchdowns, completions, and quarterback rating, which were all later broken by Jake Delhomme.
1) Jake Delhomme, Quarterback
The start to Jake Delhomme's NFL career was anything, but memorable.
After signing with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 1997, Delhomme bounced around between NFL Europe and a couple short-stints with the Saints before signing with the Panthers in 2003.
In his first season with the Panthers, Jake led the franchise to its only Super Bowl appearance, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
Six years later, Delhomme was released by Carolina after a disappointing 2009 campaign where he struggled with his accuracy, throwing 18 interceptions and only eight touchdowns through 11 games.
Delhomme finished his career with the Panthers as the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards, passing attempts, and completions.