Rapid Reaction – Matt Kalil to sign with Panthers
After a few days of resigning their own guys, the Panthers are dipping their toes in to the free agent pool. As first reported by Adam Schefter, the Panthers have reached a deal with free agent LT, Matt Kalil. Matt Kalil, an All-American at USC, was the 4th overall pick by the Vikings in the 2012 draft. He also made the Pro Bowl that same season. Dealing with hip injuries, the last two season haven’t been very good for Kalil. But now that his hip is back to 100%, the expectations are high.
This current Panthers regime has a strong history of getting the most out of castoff offensive lineman. Let’s not forget that Mike Remmers bounced around a few different practice squads before the Panthers signed him. Most people are going to remember that Mike Remmers was beaten like rented mule by Von Miller during the Super Bowl. But while he was a RT, he wasn’t a dumpster fire. He was solid and never hurt. A season later Michael Oher was basically swapped for Byron Bell. Most thought he was done, a few months later the Panthers were in the Super Bowl and had the No. 1 offense in the NFL. Fans should expect the same from Kalil. Ray Brown and John Matsko are going to coach him up and get the most they can out of him. Is he going to be a Pro Bowler this season? Doubtful, but expectations are going to be high and rightfully so.
What does this signing mean for the rest of the offensive line? You can go ahead and put Kalil in ink at LT. Assuming, and this is a big assumption, that Michael Oher will come back healthy, he will move to RT. The middle of the line is all set with Pro Bowlers in Norwell, Turner and the other Kalil. Even the depth at the middle of the line is good with the RFA tender of Tyler Larsen. As a fan, you should feel much better about this group than you did a week ago. I’m sure that the Panthers are done working on the OL during free agency. I’d expect at least one more signing before we get to the weekend. They still need a depth player or two before they get to the draft. Don’t be surprised if Mike Remmers is brought back. If Remmers is your swing tackle or starting at RT, its not a bad thing. But hopefully Oher is ready to go next season.
Most notably, Matt Kalil is the younger brother of Panthers center and grown man that wears a bear suit, Ryan Kalil. Big brother Ryan, still has two years left on his current deal with the Panthers. Ryan, like Matt, is coming off a season ending injury to his shoulder. He’s not expected to be 100% in time for OTA’s, but he should be ready to go for Training Camp in August. Let’s hope that Matt has the same sense of humor and pranking abilities of Ryan.