The Carolina Panthers have bolstered their special-teams unit by adding one of the NFL’s premier returners.
On Monday, the Panthers signed kick and punt returner Andre Roberts to a one-year deal. NFL insider Adam Caplan reported that the deal is worth $1.75 million with $900,000 fully guaranteed upon signing.
Playing for the Houston Texans and Los Angeles Chargers, Roberts accrued an NFL-high 1,010 yards off kick returns last season. That includes a 101-yard score, one of just nine kick-return touchdowns in 2021. He also tied Isaiah Rodgers for a league-best four returns of 40 yards or more.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) May 2, 2022
Although he remained exceptional on kick returns, Roberts only registered 99 total yards on punts. He thus missed out on his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl appearance in favor of Devin Duvernay, who compiled 360 yards on punt returns and 676 on kick returns for the Baltimore Ravens.
Despite standing out at his craft, Roberts will now play for his ninth different team. The 34-year-old hasn’t spent more than two seasons with any organization other than the Arizona Cardinals, who selected him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
The Panthers made another special-teams splash by signing long-time Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker to a three-year deal in March. They appeared committed to improving the game’s often-overlooked unit after three straight five-win seasons.