Chris Hogan had a down year for the Patriots in 2018, but he’s just the sort of player who can thrive with the Panthers this season.
The Panthers continue to have a quiet, but very productive free agency period. Signing Chris Hogan away from the Patriots isn’t going to make a lot of headlines, but he could make life a lot easier for Cam Newton in 2019.
Ian Rapoport has the story that Carolina will ink Hogan to a one-year contract. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately available, but it’s safe to say it’s a low-cost signing for the Panthers. Hogan didn’t have a lot of interest early in free agency and will be happy to find a solid roster spot at this late date in the process.
Devin Funchess wasn’t great for the Panthers last season, but his departure did leave a hole in the team’s receiving corps. Specifically, the team needed a big-bodied possession receiver who can make plays in the red zone. At his best, Hogan is that sort of player. He doesn’t have the size that made Funchess a match-up nightmare for teams, but he does have better route running skills and hands.
Hogan won’t be expected to be one of Newton’s top targets, but don’t be surprised if he finds a way to make some big catches for the Panthers. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are both very talented, but neither guy has a lot of NFL experience. Hogan knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl from his time in New England. Head coach Ron Rivera will be happy to add that experience to his wide receiver room.
The interesting question is whether or not Hogan’s acquisition makes the Panthers more likely to move on from Torrey Smith. The former Patriot’s salary will certainly come in well underneath the $5 million Smith is owed if he makes the roster this year. That will certainly be a battle worth watching as training camp gets going.
No matter how Hogan impacts the rest of the roster, this is just the sort of low-risk, high-reward signing the Panthers should be looking to make at this point in free agency. It’s another solid move by Hurney and his front office.