CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers took a big step toward replacing Ted Ginn Jr. as their speed receiver on Friday, signing former Minnesota Vikings speedster Charles Johnson to a one-year deal.
That gives the Panthers two players named Charles Johnson. Veteran defensive end Charles Johnson re-signed for two years earlier in the week.
Terms: One year, $2.2 million (source: NFL.com)
Grade C-plus: The Panthers needed speed at wide receiver after losing Ginn, and they got it in Johnson, who ran a blistering 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2013. The former college quarterback at Grand Valley State isn't quite as polished as Ginn, a 2007 first-round pick and former track star. Johnson has only 60 catches in three years for 834 yards. He had just 20 last season for 232 yards and no touchdowns. He got lost in the receiving corps behind Stefon Diggs after an injury sidelined him in 2015. But he is fast and not afraid to show his flash with red shoes like the ones he wore to the media room after being introduced by the Panthers.
What it means: It doesn't mean the Panthers are done looking for a speed/slot receiver. They'll probably select another in the draft. But it does mean they have a player who has potential to fill Ginn's role, which is more than they had 24 hours earlier. Johnson showed his potential in 2014, catching 31 passes for 475 and two touchdowns.
What's the risk? It's only a one-year deal, but the value suggests the Panthers believe Johnson can fill Ginn's role. If he does, he'll be rewarded. If not, the Panthers will move on. But this wasn't a bad option, considering most of the top-speed free-agent receivers signed Thursday.