The Panthers will huddle up with former Browns defensive lineman Chris Smith on Tuesday, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). Smith has been away from the game since his girlfriend’s tragic death last year, but he’s ready to make his return in 2020.
Smith entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 2014. After that, he spent time with the Bengals and went on to ink a three-year deal with the Browns in 2018. In his first season, he notched 21 stops, two passes defensed, one sack, and a forced fumble. In 2019, he made nine appearances before being released in December. For his career, Smith has 67 total tackles and 8.5 sacks in 60 games.
The Panthers’ defensive line figures to look rather different in 2020. The team is expected to decline the 2020 option on nose tackle Dontari Poe and Gerald McCoy, Bruce Irvin, and Vernon Butler are unlikely to return. Mario Addison, who has tallied 55 sacks for the Panthers, may be the only pending free agent DL to return. Even then, it’d have to be on the Panthers’ preferred terms.