Dickson will make the veteran minimum $730,000 with a $65,000 signing bonus.
He likely will be the No. 2 tight end behind Greg Olsen, who led Carolina in receptions last season with 73. Dickson gives a team looking to restructure its passing attack after losing its top four wide receivers a second tight end who can catch.
Quarterback Cam Newton had his best season passing in 2011 (4,051 yards), when Carolina used a lot of two-tight end sets with Olsen and Jeremy Shockey. Olsen caught 45 passes for 540 yards and five touchdowns that season. Shockey had 37 catches for 455 yards and four touchdowns.
"Ed is a young player who has shown he is a capable blocker as well as receiver in the league," coach Ron Rivera said in a release. "He provides experienced depth at the tight end position and we look forward to having him in the mix."
Dickson caught only 25 passes for 273 yards last season. In 2011, he had a career-best 54 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns. He became expendable when the Ravens signed free-agent tight end Owen Daniels. Dickson (6-foot-4, 255) was a third-round draft pick by Baltimore in 2010. He has played in 60 games, with 44 starts and 111 receptions for 1,178 yards.