During the NFL meetings in Boca Raton, general manager Dave Gettleman confirmed while speaking with the media that the Carolina Panthers would pick up the option in Star Lotulelei's contract and keep him with the team through the 2017 season.
Lotulelei was the first pick Gettleman ever made as the general manager of the Panthers when he took him 14th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. The defensive tackle out of Utah was considered one of the top prospects in that draft but slipped in the draft due to some health concerns.
However, this was the Panthers gain and he has been an excellent addition to this defense the past three years. He was named the starter almost immediately and certainly looked the part of a dominant run-stuffing defensive tackle. Lotulelei started all 16 games his rookie season and finished with 42 tackles and three sacks.
His sophomore season did not go as smoothly as he dealt with a number of injuries, including a broken foot prior to the NFC Divisional Round against the Seattle Seahawks. This injury lingered into this past season's training camp but as the year went on Lotulelei got stronger and rebounded.
He didn't get the same notoriety as his teammate Kawann Short, who had 11 sacks, but he is one of the main reasons the Panthers have finished in the Top 5 two of his three seasons in the league. The only season the team didn't finish near the top was his sophomore season.
As Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer notes in his article, Lotulelei will be set to make over $6 million dollars in 2017. This would be a significant increase from the $1,714,704 base salary he is set to make this upcoming season, according to Spotrac.