Panthers sign RB Barner to 1-year deal

NFL: NFC Championship-Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia Eagles: Running back Kenjon Barner (38) won a Super Bowl ring last season with the Philadelphia Eagles.Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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The Carolina Panthers fortified their backfield by signing free-agent running back Kenjon Barner to a one-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Carolina also signed a pair of draft picks Friday — third-round selection Rashaan Gaulden and seventh-round pick Andre Smith.

The signing of Barner came one day after the Panthers placed running back Fozzy Whittaker on injured reserve with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Barner, a sixth-round draft pick of Carolina in 2013, was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the 2014 season. He appeared in 36 games with Philadelphia, totaling 310 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 71 carries.

In the Eagles’ run to the Super Bowl last season, Barner appeared in 13 games (one start), rushing for 57 yards on 16 attempts with one touchdown.

Barner finished his college career ranked second in Oregon history with 3,623 rushing yards and tied for second with 41 rushing touchdowns.

Gaulden, a third-round pick, played safety at Tennessee and had team-leading totals of three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles last season. He started 19 of 36 games for the Volunteers and registered 140 tackles, 10 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one interception.

Linebacker Smith, taken in the seventh round, was limited to two games at North Carolina last season due to injury, leading the team in tackles in each contest. During his sophomore season in 2016, Smith finished second on the Tar Heels with 113 tackles.

Carolina had signed five of its draft picks on Thursday.

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