The Panthers have agreed to terms with DT Antwon Burton, a 6-2, 320-pound run-stuffing specialist who was most recently with the St. Louis Rams before getting cut.
The Panthers announced the signing Tuesday afternoon. Burton's agent, Marty Magid, said that the Panthers and Burton have agreed to a two-year, non-guaranteed contract worth a total of about $1.15 million (if Burton stays on the team). There was no signing bonus.
"He's a good kid who just needs a shot," Magid said. "He's a true nose tackle."
In other words, in size, contract and skill set, it sounds like Burton is a poor man's Maake Kemoeatu. To make room for Burton, the Panthers have put Louis Leonard on injured reserve. Leonard started for Carolina last week and fractured his ankle on the game's final defensive snap. He wasn't a big-name loss, but it was another blow to lose Leonard for the season. Linebacker Jon Beason told me Tuesday that Leonard was a "diamond in the rough" and would have helped the Panthers a lot had he stayed healthy.
Burton, 26, was an undrafted free agent out of Temple who has knocked around the league. His most successful stint came when he stuck with Denver for two years, playing in a career-high six games in 2007. Burton has also spent time in Kansas City, Cincinnati and St. Louis.
You've likely never heard of Burton, but he will get a chance to contribute quickly on a Carolina team that has been decimated by injury at defensive tackle. Burton also has some familiarity with current Panthers' defensive line coach Brian Baker, who supervised Burton for awhile in St. Louis while Baker was the defensive line coach there and apparently liked him.
In other roster news, the Panthers waived safety Nate Salley from injured reserve and released DT George Hypolite from the practice squad.