The Carolina Panthers and Luke Kuechly are on the verge of making NFL history, according to NFL Network’s Rand Getlin. The five-year contract extension worth $62 million with an average salary of $12.4 million means that he will be the highest paid inside linebacker in NFL history.
However, in terms of the linebacker position, Kuechly’s average will only rank as the third highest in the NFL behind Kansas City Chiefs’ Justin Houston’s average salary of $16.83 and Green Bay Packers’ Clay Matthews average salary of $13.2 million dollars, according to Spotrac.
This new contract extension for Kuechly is certainly deserved as he has quickly risen to the top of the ranks in the NFL at the position. In three seasons he has made the Pro Bowl twice, won the NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, led the league in tackles twice and led the league in pass coverage last year according to Pro Football Focus.
While, the move hasn’t been officially announced by the team yet this was a contract that both sides wanted to get done. This should be done before the Panthers take the field Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Panthers were up against a self-imposed deadline of Sunday to get a deal finalized as GM Dave Gettleman has said he would not negotiate extensions during the season, as ESPN’s David Newton wrote last month.
The Panthers have been very diligent this offseason to make sure they locked in their core players for the long term and have seemingly achieved that with new deals for Greg Olsen, Cam Newton, Thomas Davis and Derek Anderson totaling over $200 million dollars (if Kuechly’s reported total is accurate).
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