Carolina received Lee and a 2017 seventh-round pick in exchange for punter Kasey Redfern and a 2018 fourth-round pick, according to Max Henson of Panthers.com.
Lee spent only one year with Cleveland after being a part of the San Francisco 49ers for 11 seasons. In that stretch, the veteran went to three Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro three times.
The 34-year-old punter was a sixth-round pick in the 2004 NFL draft.
The Panthers were in pursuit of a punter since they let Brad Nortman leave in free agency during the offseason. Veteran Mike Scifres had an opportunity to be the primary option during the season, but he suffered a knee injury in the team's third preseason game.
Head coach Ron Rivera seemed less than enthused with the untested Redfern being the only option heading into the regular season.
"He’s a young guy and you’re never really comfortable with young guys, but the truth of the matter is if that’s what we have, that’s what we’re going to do," Rivera said of the rookie, per David Newton of ESPN.com.
This trade now provides some stability to the position with Lee, who hasn't missed a single game in his 12-year career. He also still has a booming leg, ranking eighth in the NFL with 46.7 yards per punt last season.
On the other side, the Browns were able to shed quite a bit of salary with the trade, as Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com noted:
Upgrading draft picks and saving money are two good ways to expedite a rebuilding campaign.
Lee also irked Cleveland fans with a lack of effort in the most recent preseason game, per Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald:
This trade gives the veteran a chance for a fresh start with a likely contending team.