Panthers Add Adam Thielen, Lions Bolster Secondary, OBJ Thoughts, and Other NFL Bullets

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Panthers Add Adam Thielen, Lions Bolster Secondary, OBJ Thoughts, and Other NFL Bullets


While many of us watched the United States crush Cuba in the World Baseball Classic semifinals, there were some NFL free-agency signings. One of those moves was former Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen signing with the Carolina Panthers.

  • The Panthers — who traded DJ Moore to the Bears last Friday — have a new No. 1 wide receiver in Carolina. Thielen and the Panthers agreed to a new three-year deal worth $25 million with $14 million guaranteed, per Spotrac.
  • Thielen was a cap casualty in Minnesota before the start of free agency, a move that saved the Vikings $6 million against the salary cap. Andy Dalton is the Panthers’ starting quarterback for now. However, Carolina will certainly draft his eventual replacement next month. Thielen provides a reliable veteran presence on third downs and in the red zone for whoever that ends up being.
  • The Panthers also brought in DJ Chark for a visit last week, but nothing has materialized.

  • The Detroit Lions continued to add to their secondary last night, adding former Eagles DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson. The deal is for one year and worth $8 million. The Lions have now added Gardner-Johnson, Cam Sutton, and Emmanuel Moseley to their secondary this offseason.
  • Gardner-Johnson transitioned from nickel to safety under Jonathan Gannon last season in Philadelphia. However, he played nickel for current Lions DC Aaron Glenn when the two were together in New Orleans in 2020. That’s likely the plan for him in Detroit this season. That gives the Lions a pretty versatile secondary. Tracy Walker and Kerby Joseph are the starting safeties, with Gardner Johnson and Will Harris on the inside and Jeff Okudah and Cam Sutton on the outside. Jerry Jacobs and Emmanuel Moseley provide plenty of depth.
  • Detroit also opened up some cap space by restructuring Romeo Okwara’s contract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the restructure reduces Okwara’s cap hit from $14.5 million to $5.647 million.

  • Both Thielen and Gardner-Johnson were on our list of the 40-best unsigned free agents over the weekend.

  • The Miami Dolphins made the decision to exercise the fifth-year option on Tua Tagovailoa’s contract official this morning. The option comes with a $23.17 million salary that is fully guaranteed for next season. Tagovailoa threw for 3,548 yards, 25 touchdowns, and eight interceptions while completing 64.8 percent of his passes in 2022.
  • So, I mentioned on Sunday that Dallas trading for Brandin Cooks likely signals that the Cowboys are out on Odell Beckham Jr. You can also take the Giants off the list, as they added cheaper options to their receiving core with the additions of Paris Campbell and Darren Waller last week.
  • OBJ’s Saturday night tweet mocking the idea that he wants $20 million per year but laughing off the idea that he’s worth $4 million shows how far apart he and teams are regarding what the soon-to-be 31-year-old receiver is worth. Which begs the question, what is he looking for?
  • Beckham is the latest example of a player looking to be paid for what he’s done rather than for what he has left in the tank. On the one hand, he looked like the OBJ everyone knows and covets in Super Bowl LVI. On the other hand, he will be 31 and hasn’t played since that second torn ACL in Super Bowl LVI. While $4 million is a ridiculously insulting lowball offer, $20 million isn’t going to happen. Would Beckham settle for a one-year deal somewhere in between that range–but much closer to the $20 million side of things?
  • A one-year deal could serve as a way for OBJ to re-establish himself as a top-20 receiver in the NFL like he believes he is. If he can do that, then no one would scoff at his demand to be paid like one in what will likely be his final go at free agency. We just saw Adam Thielen sign a three-year deal worth $25 million, ending in Thielen’s age-35 season. So, if OBJ can re-establish himself in 2023, he should have no issue getting a three-year deal in the price range he’s comfortable with next spring.
  • Prospects …
  • Don’t forget to grab your tickets or the Bleacher Nation event on April 6 at HVAC Pub in Wrigleyville! Looking forward to grabbing a beer and meeting the regulars in the BN community.

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.