Panthers sign significant veteran at cornerback

This summer, the Carolina Panthers have experienced an unusual bout of good health in their cornerbacks unit. Despite this, the team has decided to bolster their depth at the position by bringing in veteran cornerback Troy Hill. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero has reported that the Panthers and Troy Hill have reached an agreement.

After facing challenges with injuries to their top cornerbacks, Donte Jackson and Jaycee Horn, in recent years, the Panthers are finally looking forward to having both players on the field together in good health. Jaycee Horn, who had a minor foot injury in the spring, has fully recovered and participated without any issues during training camp. Donte Jackson, who was recovering from an Achilles injury sustained last season, has also been given the green light to fully engage in activities.

Nonetheless, the team is set to welcome Hill into their ranks. The 31-year-old cornerback, who went undrafted, has managed to establish himself in the NFL over the course of eight years, and he will now be joining his sixth team in the league for the 2023 season.

Hill’s journey began as an undrafted rookie in 2015 with the Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots, where he struggled to find his footing. However, he found his way to St. Louis on waivers toward the end of his rookie season. The team’s move to Los Angeles marked a fresh start for Hill, and he made strides in his second year, making four starts for the Rams despite initially being the fifth-choice cornerback. Over the following years within the Rams’ system, Hill cemented his role as a part-time starter and a key contributor in rotations.

When given the opportunity to start consistently for the Los Angeles team, Hill had a standout year, achieving career-high statistics in tackles (77), passes defensed (10), and interceptions (3). Impressively, he also demonstrated his playmaking abilities by returning two of those interceptions for touchdowns and leading the league with 119 interception return yards.

His breakout performance during a contract year earned him a lucrative four-year, $24 million contract with the Cleveland Browns. However, Cleveland’s defensive scheme led him to play in ways that didn’t fully align with his skillset, resulting in a drop in production in coverage. Nonetheless, he recorded career-highs in sacks (2.0) and tackles for loss (7). After just one season with the Browns, Hill was traded back to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round draft pick. He returned to his starting role with the Rams, but due to a restructured contract, he was set to enter free agency at the conclusion of the season.

Hill is now becoming part of a talented and youthful group in Carolina. While Donte Jackson and Jaycee Horn are the expected starters, there is substantial talent in reserve, including former first-round draft pick C.J. Henderson and former Eagles safety Jeremy Chinn, who plays in the slot. Although Hill’s specific role within this lineup might not be immediately apparent, his wealth of experience will undoubtedly contribute. Suddenly, with all key players in good health, the cornerback position is shaping up to be a position of strength for the Panthers.

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