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Roman Harper headed to Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have reached an agreement with veteran safety Roman Harper on a two-year deal worth $4.5 million, including a $1.5 million signing bonus, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The Panthers had a void at safety after Mike Mitchell left to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Harper, 31, is a two-time Pro Bowler who was a cornerstone of the New Orleans Saints' defense for most of the past eight years at strong safety. But he became more of a part-time player last year and was released in a cost-cutting move in February.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, who was drafted in the second round out of Alabama in 2006, made his mark as an attacking blitzer and run stuffer. His 17 sacks are the most in the NFL by any defensive back since 2006, and his 13 forced fumbles are tied for sixth among defensive backs in that span. He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and '10.

Harper has struggled at times in deep pass coverage. He missed seven games in the middle of last season with a knee injury, but he finished strong.

ESPN.com Saints reporter Mike Triplett contributed to this report.