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Panthers add some offensive line depth with Gino Gradkowski

during the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoffs game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images

The Panthers aren’t into the whole free agency scene, but dipped their toe in the waters Thursday to add some depth to their offensive line.

The team announced they had signed unrestricted free agent center Gino Gradkowski, formerly of the Falcons, to a three-year deal.

Gradkowski gives them a solid backup to center Ryan Kalil and at guard, though they’re solid with starters Trai Turner and Andrew Norwell. The previous guy in that role, Fernando Velasco, is a free agent.

He gives us depth at center and guard,” PanthersĀ coach Ron Rivera said. “You feel very secure that if something were to happen, you can plug him in and not lose everything. It’s very much like with Fernando last year when something happened with Kalil, he had to come in and start the Indianapolis game. We believe that’s what Gradkowski can do for us.”

A former fourth-round pick of the Ravens, Gradkowski was traded to Denver in 2015, but was waived in final roster cuts. He was claimed by the Falcons, and played three games with them last year, starting one.

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8 Responses to “Panthers add some offensive line depth with Gino Gradkowski”
  1. corkspop says: Mar 10, 2016 12:18 PM

    Looks like a solid move. Line depth is key in getting to the playoffs.

  2. pastanow says: Mar 10, 2016 12:41 PM

    He’s not very good. I wouldn’t expect much even as depth.

  3. joedirte says: Mar 10, 2016 12:47 PM

    I’m a falcons fan and he basically did nothing to stop Starr and Kawaan so better that he’s with you than us.

  4. 2since96 says: Mar 10, 2016 12:51 PM

    This guy was terrible as a Raven…had to keys to take over for Matt Birk, but was too small and soft to do anything…Panthers run a huge Oline like the ravens do, and I can’t imagine this little guy being of much help if they lose a center or guard.

  5. domo207 says: Mar 10, 2016 2:16 PM

    Whenever the Panthers sign a guy who was released by his former team, fans of that team always try to trash him and talk about how much he sucks. Then somehow when he plays for the Panthers, he ends up being an above average to really good player. Maybe the coaching staffs of those teams just aren’t that good at coaching the players who aren’t stars. Not saying that Gradkowski will be an amazing player for the Panthers, but fans of other teams were also trying to ‘warn’ the Panthers about Kurt Coleman, Mike Mitchell, Michael Oher, and Ted Ginn and look how they turned out.

  6. xinellum says: Mar 10, 2016 2:48 PM

    Have to agree with others, Gradkowski is just too small to be a O lineman in the NFL. He had a starting position and graded out as the worst center in the league with the Ravens. He was also surrounded by the best guard in football in Marshall Yanda and the second best in Kelechi Osemele who just signed an outrageous 12 million/year salary. If you can’t get it done between those guys, then you can’t get it done.

  7. doctorpancake says: Mar 11, 2016 12:31 AM

    Oher didn’t grade too well with the Ravens, but he was stable enough to help Carolina get to the Super Bowl. I think domo207 nailed it.

  8. shotpeen says: Mar 13, 2016 9:04 PM

    If you saw any Falcons games you’d know their center sucked, and personally cost them at least two games. Yet this guy barley saw any action. What more do you need to know?

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