The Carolina Panthers reportedly will sign Washington free-agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland to a three-year deal when free agency opens on Wednesday, according to an ESPN report. The reported numbers: $24 million total (up to $26 million with escalators), with $11 million guaranteed.
Breeland, 26, has been a starter since Washington made him a fourth-round pick out of Clemson in 2014. He has eight career interceptions and adds a playmaking element to a Panthers secondary that needs it.
It's expected that Breeland will compete for a starting job opposite James Bradberry. The Panthers traded away cornerback Daryl Worley for wide receiver Torrey Smith.
This is not exactly payback for Washington poaching Josh Norman in free agency a few years ago, but it does help fill a need. The Panthers ranked last in passes defended last season with 55 and intercepted only 10 passes (seven by defensive backs).
In addition to his eight picks in four seasons, Breeland has seven forced fumbles — third-most among cornerback since 2014 and ranks fourth in the NFL over that time period in passes defended with 60.
Expect Breeland to be matched up on some of the NFC South's bigger receivers — Mike Evans, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas especially — which is a role in which Breeland has had his most success.
This is a homecoming for Breeland, who not only played college football at nearby Clemson but also grew up a few hours away in Allendale, South Carolina.