Behind every good NFL team there is an even better man snapping the ball on every play. NFL centers are one of the most underrated and under-appreciated members of an offense, but the Carolina Panthers made sure Monday that theirs was much appreciated.
According to Rand Getlin of NFL Media, the Carolina Panthers have signed Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil to a two-year contract extension worth $16.75 million. The 31-year-old will receive $13 million guaranteed in his new deal, which will make him one of the five highest-paid centers in the NFL.
A second-round pick out of USC in 2007, Kalil has been a Carolina Panther since day one. He has earned five Pro Bowl selections and started 115 of his 118 career games. He missed time with lower body injuries and had a Lisfranc surgery a couple of seasons ago on his foot.
As insurance, the Panthers signed Gino Gradkowski in free agency.
Back in 2011, Kalil was franchise-tagged and eventually signed a six-year, $49 million contract that was set to expire in 2017. This new deal almost ensures the lifelong Panther stays in Carolina for the remainder of his career.
Pro Football Focus ranked Kalil the fourth best run-blocking center in the NFL last season, proven by the outstanding season of running back Jonathan Stewart, who amassed nearly 1,000 rushing yards last year.