Balmer, a first-round draft pick (28th overall) by the San Francisco 49ers in 2008, started 11 games last season.
The Panthers are hoping the 6-foot-5, 318-pound Balmer can be a suitable replacement for Ron Edwards, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve after tearing his triceps Aug. 4.
Balmer, a former University of North Carolina player, has largely underachieved during his three-year NFL career. He played two disappointing seasons (19 tackles in 27 games) for the 49ers before being traded to Seattle in 2010, when he saw his most significant action, recording 43 tackles. However, the Seahawks cut Balmer this week, and the Panthers, who own the first pick when it comes to waiver-wire pickups, jumped on him.
Losing Edwards left the Panthers extremely thin at defensive tackle, with Nick Hayden the most experienced of the bunch with 13 starts. The Panthers did select Sione Fua and Terrell McClain in the third round of April's draft. Fua has been starting alongside Corvey Irvin, a third-round pick in 2008, so far this preseason.
To make roster room for Balmer, the Panthers placed cornerback Cletis Gordon on IR with a shoulder injury.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press