New York Giants Ross Cockrell
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Another one bites the dust. The New York Giants have lost yet another piece of their defensive puzzle to the Carolina Panthers on Friday afternoon.

For the second day in a row, the New York Giants defense is losing a key member of its 2017 group.

Cornerback Ross Cockrell has signed a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers, joining the former employers of New York general manager Dave Gettleman. The deal, which was first reported by Cockrell’s agency Reign Sports Management, is said to be worth $6.8 million.

Thus ends Cockrell’s one-year term with the Giants, who acquired him from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in September, eight days before the team’s opening weekend showdown in Dallas.

With his role increasing throughout the season thanks to numerous injuries and suspensions, Cockrell tallied 37 tackles during his time in blue. His most noteworthy performance came in the Giants’ Week 16 visit to Arizona on Christmas Eve. Despite the 23-0 Giants loss, Cockrell recorded two interceptions, the first multi-turnover game of his career. He recorded another interception in the Giants’ season finale against Washington, to give him a career-high three interceptions for the year.

Now a member of the Panthers, the 26-year-old finds himself in familiar territory. His football journey began at Charlotte Latin High School, where he starred on both the football and track squads.

His tour of North Carolina continued in college, joining Duke University in 2010. Cockrell helped the Blue Devils return to college football relevancy, partaking in the team’s first bowl appearance since 1994 by reaching the 2012 Belk Bowl, concluding a year where he led the ACC in interceptions (5). The year after, Cockrell led the conference in pass deflections (12), and assisted in Duke’s first 10-win season in program history. Not only did he earn first team All-ACC honors in 2012 and 2013, he was also on the ACC All-Academic team in each of his four years.

He then entered the league in 2014, selected in the fourth round by the Buffalo Bills.

Cockrell becomes the fifth Giants free agent to depart this offseason, joining guard Justin Pugh (Arizona), center Weston Richburg (San Francisco), linebacker Devon Kennard (Detroit), and guard D.J. Fluker (Seattle).

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