DeCoud visit could cloud Godfrey's future

The future of free safety Charles Godfrey becomes clouded even more with reports that the Carolina Panthers are bringing former Atlanta Falcons free safety Thomas DeCoud in for a visit.

DeCoud will come to Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, citing a source. DeCoud was cut by the Falcons in February after starting 78 games the past five seasons.

Godfrey is coming off an Achilles injury suffered in the second game of the 2013 season. He also has a $7.1 million salary-cap figure, and the Panthers could save $5.1 million if they cut him after June 1.

Coach Ron Rivera said last week at the NFL owners meetings that Godfrey is being evaluated. He said it was too soon to make a decision on his future because the Panthers won't be able to see how far he has come with the injury until offseason workouts begin on April 21.

He also said there have been discussions on whether Godfrey, in addition to playing free safety, could fill a void at nickelback. That left an impression he could be in the team's future.

But if the Panthers can find a cheaper alternative and free up money that could be used to sign quarterback Cam Newton and/or defensive end Greg Hardy to a long-term deal sooner rather than later, parting with Godfrey may be the best long-term option.

DeCoud made the Pro Bowl in 2012 after collecting a career-best six interceptions. He has 14 career interceptions, but had none this past season in 15 starts.

As general manager Dave Gettleman did a year ago in finding a bargain in safety Mike Mitchell, who was signed in free agency by Pittsburgh, this could be another one.