The Carolina Panthers have never been an organization to go after the big name free agents but that may be because they make sure they keep the players that would be those big names. This offseason general manager Dave Gettleman sent a clear message that if you are valuable to this organization, we want to keep you.
The Panthers signed five key players to long-term contract extensions that totaled $211 million dollars. Those players included tight end Greg Olsen, linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly and quarterbacks Cam Newton and Derek Anderson. It should also be no surprise that four of those five were named captains for 2015.
|Name||Number of Years||Total Contract Value||Guaranteed Money|
|Luke Kuechly||5||62,000,000||not available|
*All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac
The biggest contract was given to franchise quarterback Cam Newton who accounted for almost half of that total with his five-year, $103.8 million contract. The average salary of $20,760,000 is the sixth highest among NFL quarterbacks. At the time it was much higher but he has since been surpassed by Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and New York Giants’ Eli Manning, who received new extensions this offseason.
One player that won’t be surpassed anytime soon is middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who is now the highest paid inside linebacker in NFL history and rightfully so. He has been one of the best linebackers since joining the league in 2011 and has built an impressive resume in a short period of time. The combination of him and Thomas Davis should help anchor this defense for the foreseeable future.
The ability to make these moves is a credit to general manager Dave Gettleman. When he took over in 2013 one of his main goals was to get the team’s salary cap back in order. The Panthers had a number of big contracts on the books for players like Steve Smith Sr. and DeAngelo Williams. Gettleman had to make the tough decision of releasing these iconic players but by doing so put the team in a position where they could secure their future.
The Panthers are going to have a lot to worry about this season as they prepare to win their third consecutive NFC South title. The one thing they won’t have to worry about though is the future of their key players with the Carolina Panthers.
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