Jeremy Shockey is headed to Carolina. Now that the news is official, it’s worth looking into what type of player the Panthers are getting.
Shockey, who will be 31 at the start of next season, has never played a full season and missed 10 full games during three seasons with the Saints due to an assortment of injuries. The fact the Saints chose to let Shockey go, even though he has a long history with head coach Sean Payton dating back to his rookie season with the Giants, should be telling. But it wasn’t seen as a surprise given the variety of factors — age, injury history, cost and the development of Jimmy Graham.
NFL Network analyst Solomon Wilcots checked in for a quick scouting report:
“He’s not the player he once was, and he’s not a full-time player. But I think on a limited basis he can still be an impact player. He’s probably not an every down, every game starter. But he will be great to pair with a younger tight end, because he was great with Graham last season in New Orleans. I won’t take anything away from his overall abilities, I think he can still play his game on a limited basis. Shockey can still catch the ball in tight spaces and still knows how to work defenders on his routes.”
Even in a situational role, Shockey could still provide a suitable compliment (or at least the threat of one) in the passing game for Steve Smith. Panthers coach Ron Rivera has been vocal about the Panthers featuring one tight end instead of a rotation, and perhaps Shockey is still that player. That the Panthers were able to sell Shockey on Carolina and his role in the offense also leads to some between-the-lines thinking that he won’t have a rookie quarterback throwing passes his way next season (see Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer, et. all).
Keep in mind Shockey will also be reunited with his position coach from the University of Miami, new Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.