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Panthers give three-year deal to undrafted Penn State OT Cadogan

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After not signing one player from another team in free agency before the draft, the Carolina Panthers loaded up their roster with undrafted rookies.

The salary cap-strapped Panthers released on Tuesday a list of 20 rookies and two veterans who agreed to terms ahead of this weekend's minicamp.

The prize of the bunch might be jumbo offensive tackle Gerald Cadogan from Penn State.

Predicted by many to go in the middle rounds, Cadogan (6-foot-5, 309 pounds) went undrafted last weekend, leading to a bidding war. The Panthers went the unusual route of giving Cadogan a three-year contract.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"We fielded offers from approximately 10 different teams on Gerald but determined that the Panthers presented the best opportunity," said Cadogan's agent, Scott Smith.

Smith indicated that Cadogan was told he'd begin his Panthers career as left tackle Jordan Gross' backup.

After releasing Jeremy Bridges and watching fellow backups Geoff Hangartner (to the Buffalo Bills) and Frank Omiyale (to the Chicago Bears) leave in free agency, the Panthers are looking for depth on the offensive line.

Joining Cadogan and fifth-round pick Duke Robinson will be undrafted rookie linemen Patrick Brown of Central Florida, C.J. Davis of Pittsburgh, Keith Gray of Connecticut and Garry Williams of Kentucky. The Panthers also signed former Washington Redskins lineman Justin Geisinger.

Carolina also reached terms with speedy running back Jamall Lee of Bishop's University in Canada. Lee has been listed as one of the top prospects for this weekend's Canadian Football League draft.

Other players locked up by the Panthers include quarterback Hunter Cantwell of Louisville, defensive tackle Marlon Favorite of LSU and safety Anthony Scirrotto of Penn State.

The Panthers also brought in speedy Larry Beavers of tiny Wesley College in Dover, Del. With Mark Jones signing with the Tennessee Titans and Ryne Robinson returning from a knee injury, Beavers could have a shot at the Panthers' kick-returning job.

Beavers holds the NCAA all-division records with 10 career kickoff returns for touchdowns and 13 total touchdown returns. He led Division III in kick-return average (39.5 yards) last season.

The Panthers' three-day minicamp begins Friday.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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