Panthers have competition at safety

April, 4, 2012
4/04/12
11:57
AM ET
The Carolina Panthers just announced a move that might not sound like much, but it has the potential to have some implications in the defensive secondary.

The Panthers have signed safety Reggie Smith, who spent the last four seasons with San Francisco. Smith primarily was a backup and special-teams player, but he did start the final seven games of the 2010 season.

Carolina still has last year’s starting safeties, Charles Godfrey and Sherrod Martin, on the roster. But Martin didn’t have a great 2011 season.

Maybe Smith will end up simply being a backup and special-teams player. But the third-round pick in 2008 appears to have some upside in the Panthers' eyes.

“Reggie has been on our radar since the beginning of free agency and is a player we think can come in and compete at safety,” general manager Marty Hurney said. “We brought him in for a visit Tuesday and it worked out. He is another player we’ve added to increase the competition.”

Sounds like Martin will have some competition in camp. This is a no-lose situation for the Panthers. In a best-case scenario, Smith can come in, outplay Martin and win the job. Or Smith’s presence might light a fire under Martin and his play could improve.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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