CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers general manager Marty Hurney believes it’s not a bad thing to have quarterbacks on your roster to develop.
With that in mind, the Panthers claimed quarterback Brad Kaaya off waivers from Detroit on Sunday and signed Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad after cutting him Saturday.
“You’re always trying to keep one or two quarterbacks in the pipeline,” Hurney said. “Ron Wolf, one of the best general managers and evaluators I’ve seen in a long time, his approach was in the draft you always try to pick one because of the value at that position.”
Kaaya was selected in the sixth round this year by the Lions but not make the 53-man roster. Kaaya threw for 9,968 yards and 69 touchdowns in his three seasons at the University of Miami.
He will serve as Carolina’s No. 3 quarterback behind Cam Newton and Derek Anderson after the team cut Joe Webb on Saturday.
“Our scouts liked him. Our coaches liked him,” Hurney said before practice Sunday. “He’s a guy that’s got really good intangibles. He’s got a quick release, a very professional approach to the preseason. And he had a good preseason and shows promise, just like Garrett Gilbert does.”
The Panthers also claimed safety Demetrious Cox off waivers Sunday. An undrafted rookie, he was cut by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hurney said Cox can play both safety positions.
“We thought he had a very good preseason. We had good grades on him in college and I think he’ll help our depth chart,” Hurney said.
To make room on the roster, the Panthers have placed rookie cornerback Corn Elder on injured reserve and waived rookie fullback Alex Armah. Elder was the team’s fifth-round draft pick this year, while Armah was selected in the sixth round.
The Panthers had two kickers at practice:— veteran Graham Gano and rookie Harrison Butker. They’re entertaining trade offers for Gano, but have not made a move. If Gano is still on the roster, he will kick Sunday against the 49ers. Gano said it has been a “good competition” at kicker and hasn’t been awkward competing with Butker.
“He’s a good kid,” Gano said.
Hurney doesn’t know how long the team will keep two kickers.
“It’s a fluid process,” Hurney said. “We’re fortunate enough to have two kickers that we really like, that I think are very good kickers. We’ll just see how that develops.”
Hurney called the team’s decision to keep punter Michael Palardy over three-time All-Pro Andy Lee on Saturday a difficult one.
“Mike’s hang time and consistency was something he showed last year,” Hurney said. “Andy was consistent as well. It was a hard decision, but the final decision was we went with Mike.”
Hurney also said the team is confident quarterback Cam Newton is healthy and ready for the regular season.
“We have been on a plan since training camp,” Hurney said. “I think we feel very confident. We do feel very confident. Every day he takes more and more. He’s looked good. He’s felt good. We have a lot of confidence in him.”