Ryan Kalil, Panthers Agree on New Contract: Latest Comments and Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil (67) waits for a drill during practice in preparation for the Super Bowl 50 football game Friday Feb. 5, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers announced Monday that they agreed to a two-year contract extension with starting center Ryan Kalil

According to Over the Cap, Kalil was entering the final year of his deal in 2016, and his salary-cap hit for the upcoming season came in at a little over $10.3 million. NFL Network's Rand Getlin reported Monday that Kalil's extension will be worth $16.75 million, with $13 million guaranteed.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted on Wednesday that Kalil will make $13.25 million in 2016 but just $3.75 million in 2017. However, Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer cited different numbers, saying Kalil will make $11.83 million in 2016, $5.33 million in 2017 and $5.78 million in 2018.

Max Henson of Panthers.com shared Kalil's reaction to the deal:

Max Henson @PanthersMax

Ryan Kalil says he has a lot of good football left. Panthers organization is family to him. Thrilled to finish career where he started.

Max Henson @PanthersMax

Kalil: "I've tried to be the same guy. I try to lead by example and show guys how to be consistent and accountable."

Although the offensive line has been a problem area for the Panthers over the last few years, it's by no means down to Kalil, who is coming off his fifth Pro Bowl appearance and second first-team All-Pro nod in 2015. Pro Football Focus graded him the 12th-best center (76.6) in the league but noted that his performance in the postseason dragged his overall number down:

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Panthers C Ryan Kalil was the 4th-highest-graded center in the 2015 regular season, but earned negative grades for every postseason game.

The timing of the deal makes sense for both the Panthers and Kalil.

Carolina had money to burn after rescinding Josh Norman's franchise tag. That freed up $13.9 million in cap space this offseason in addition to whatever the front office had penciled in for his possible extension beyond next year. Re-signing a key veteran such as Kalil is a smart use of that money.

Kalil, meanwhile, could've potentially earned more next year on the open market, but he turned 31 in March, so his value is unlikely to be any higher than it is now. Plus, an average salary of nearly $8.4 million for the next two years would put him in the upper bracket of NFL centers financially.

Below are the top five earners at the position in 2017 and 2018 before Kalil's extension, per Over the Cap:

1Maurkice Pouncey, PIT$11,051,000Alex Mack, ATL$10,800,000
2Nick Mangold, NYJ$9,075,000Maurkice Pouncey, PIT$10,551,000
3Alex Mack, ATL$9,050,000Mike Pouncey, MIA$9,000,000
4Mike Pouncey, MIA$8,975,000Rodney Hudson, OAK$8,350,000
5Travis Frederick, DAL$8,821,000Jason Kelce, PHI$7,200,000
Source: Over the Cap

With Kalil taken care of for the next three years, the Panthers can focus their efforts on re-signing more of the players instrumental to last year's Super Bowl-contending run.

Defensive tackle Kawann Short, who is a free agent after this season, should be their primary concern, while fellow tackle Star Lotulelei, offensive guard Trai Turner and defensive end Kony Ealy only have two more years running on their current deals.

Keeping all four of those players will be difficult for Carolina, but at least Kalil's deal gives the front office a better idea of how much money it will have to spend down the road.


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