Panthers put Ron Edwards on I.R.

We knew this was probably coming, but it still is a harsh reminder that the Carolina Panthers lost one of their top free agents for the season.

EdwardsEdwardsThe team just officially announced defensive tackle Ron Edwards has been placed on the injured-reserve list. Edwards, who was signed from Kansas City and was expected to start immediately, suffered a torn triceps muscle early in camp.

The Panthers filled his roster spot by signing DelJuan Robinson. Unless Robinson does something really surprising, Carolina could be looking at starting two rookie defensive tackles.

Terrell McClain and Sione Fua both were drafted in the third round and the initial plan was to pair McClain with Edwards in the starting lineup. The front office and coaching staff believe McClain can make a significant impact right away, but believe Fua might take a little more time to develop.

Fua’s timetable could be moved up now. Robinson was a backup with the Houston Texans in 2008 and ’09 and has made only three career starts. The other defensive tackles on Carolina’s roster are Corvey Irvin, Nick Hayden, Louis Ellis, Andre Neblett and Tommie Duhart.

Irvin and Hayden have some experience and could be in the mix to start. But the team might decide to bring in another veteran later in the preseason.