The NFL offseason is here and the Carolina Panthers are already busy. Between cap cuts and re-signing a key defensive lineman (see below), the Panthers have been among the more active teams thus far. But they aren't close to finish and there will be plenty of offseason rumors and news around the Panthers regarding the NFL Draft and free agency. With that in mind, Chat Sports has compiled all the latest Panthers offseason rumors and news below.
Panthers Re-Sign Mario Addison
The big news of the day was the Panther reaching a contract extension with DE Mario Addsion.
Details on #Panthers DE Mario Addison's 3-year, $22.5M deal: $11.5M in guarantees, $9.75M paid in 2017, total value with upside is $25.05M.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 27, 2017
That keeps at least one of the three notable Panthers' free agent defensive linemen (Kawann Short and Charles Johnson) in Carolina next year. Short, by the way, is a prime franchise tag candidate. Addison, who is 30, racked up 9.5 sacks in a rotational role this year for the Panthers. His raise, plus Johnson's pending free agency, means Addison might be in line for even more playing time net year.
A.J. Klein Likely Leaving?
The Panthers are loaded at linebacker, with Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Shaq Thompson.
FA LB @AJKlein47: Being behind Luke and TD was a great learning experience but I'm looking for an opportunity to go somewhere and start.— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) February 22, 2017
That shouldn't be a surprise, since Klein wasn't going to be able to regularly crack the starting rotation. In limited time this year, Klein recorded 29 tackles, one sack, and two forced fumbles. It's unclear just how much money Klein can get on the open market, but the Panthers likely won't be the team paying him.
Panthers And Victor Cruz?
This is nearly a week old, but there is mutual interest between the Panthers and Victor Cruz.
Victor Cruz's visit w/ Panthers "went well," he tells me. Sounds like mutual interest there. Process continues, but CAR strong 1st suitor.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) February 20, 2017
Nothing imminent regarding deal for Cruz. Two sides will likely continue to talk as new league year approaches. No other visits on tap yet. https://t.co/I5XMFpTr9C— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) February 20, 2017
This doesn't mean a deal will get done, but it's a promising sign. Of course, Cruz is not the player he once was and injuries have sapped him of some of his explosiveness. Still, he'd help out a Panthers WR corps that needs it.
A quick recap here, but the Panthers did pick up a compensatory third round pick, No. 98 overall. It's the second-highest of all the compensatory picks. The loss of Josh Norman was a major factor in the Panthers getting such a high pick. This is the first year the compensatory picks are able to be traded.