Heading into the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, the Carolina Panthers decided not to re-sign wideout and special teams phenom Ted Ginn Jr. Instead, the Buckeye has agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN.
Ginn will be joining several other Buckeyes in the Big Easy, and will a welcome addition to a wide receiver group that includes big guy Michael Thomas -- who seems pretty excited to welcome a fellow Ohio State alum to the team.
Initially pegged as a return specialist early in his career, the wideout has proven that he can have success on the offensive side of the ball thanks to his last few seasons with the Panthers. His first stint in Carolina was only for a year, before making a quick stop with the Arizona Cardinals on his way back to Carolina in 2015. Ginn signed a 2-year deal worth $4.2 million, including a $1.7 million signing bonus.
His new contract with the Panthers was justified in year one. During the team’s Super Bowl run, Ginn was having a career-high season, amassing 739 yards on 44 receptions for 36 first downs and 10 touchdowns. He followed that up with a 2016 season that included 752 yards on 52 receptions for 27 first downs and four touchdowns — Ginn also became one of the first players to claim an 85-plus yard touchdown reception, 85-plus yard punt return for a touchdown and 85-plus yard kick return for a touchdown.
For most of his career, Ginn has lived around the 50% mark for receptions on targets, but when he does make the grab he averages over 11-yards per catch. The Buckeye’s real draw is his speed. He never really fit the mold to be a team’s No. 1 receiver, but is perfect as a deep threat.
The early years of his career focused on the return game, with Ginn fielding both kicks and punts. Over the course of his 10 years in the NFL, Ginn has recorded a sensational 2,497 yards and four touchdowns on 238 punt returns, along with 6,842 yards and three touchdowns on 300 kick returns. He also scored on two different kick returns that were over 100 yards.
The Miami Dolphins’ first round draft pick (No. 9 overall) in 2007 out of Ohio State found a way to be productive on both offense and special teams throughout his career, and has definitely left a legacy of which he — and Buckeye Nation -- can be proud.