The Carolina Panthers have signed free agent wide receiver Adam Thielen following his release from the Minnesota Vikings after nine seasons.
Thielen’s deal, which spans three years, was first reported on by former NFL punter and current podcaster Pat McAfee.
Thielen confirmed it with a GIF of the Panthers mascot doing a dance in the end zone, showing his excitement for his second act in the NFL.
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The Panthers later confirmed the deal. Thielen’s price has yet to be revealed.
Carolina is making a few moves this offseason, the biggest being the trade with the Chicago Bears for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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That pick is expected to be used for a potential franchise quarterback, and moves are being made for players like Thielen to help give that quarterback some weapons to work with.
The Panthers also signed former Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders and former Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurts to add more veteran options to the offense.
Thielen’s salary cap was set at just under $20 million for the 2023 season, and needing more cap space, Minnesota let the 32-year-old know his release was coming up.
Also, wide receiver Justin Jefferson had established himself as Kirk Cousins’ favorite target with the Vikings, meaning Thielen slipped to the No. 2 spot. While he doesn’t care what role he played, Thielen’s production saw a dip. since Jefferson’s rise in the league.
He had 726 yards and 716 yards in 2021 and 2022, respectively, after totaling 925 yards with 14 touchdowns on 108 receptions in 2020. Thielen also has two Pro Bowl seasons under his belt in 2017 and 2018, totaling over 1,275. yards on each of them. them with 13 combined touchdowns.
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Thielen remains an above-average road runner with reliable hands, especially in the red zone. In 2021, Thielen’s target percentage dropped, but he still had 10 touchdowns on the year.
With the Panthers, Thielen has the potential to once again be the quarterback’s best option on offense. That’s especially the case since DJ Moore was traded to the Bears in the package for the No. 1 pick.
Thielen will join Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr. and Shi Smith on the depth chart.
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In his career, Thielen has amassed 6,882 yards with 55 total touchdowns in 135 regular-season games.