The Panthers haven’t done any of the big business which is on the horizon, but they are hanging onto some of their own.
The team announced a three-year contract extension for tackle Nate Chandler, and two-year deals for safety Colin Jones and defensive end Mario Addison.
Jones is a special teams mainstay and Addison’s grown into a solid depth player for a strong rotation up front, but Chandler’s the intriguing one of the lot. He’d have been a restricted free agent after this season, so they weren’t forced to do it now.
A former defensive tackle who was converted to the offensive line, he’s being given a chance to win a starting tackle job this year. In the absence of competition other than Byron Bell, he might win it, too.
“Going into this year I really wasn’t thinking about an extension or anything like that. After OTAs it came up, and it really hasn’t hit me yet,” Chandler said. “I’m just so thankful for them believing in me. I came in as an undrafted rookie not knowing if I would make the team, and now the two years of work I’ve put in has gotten me to this point. It’s a really good feeling.”
If he turns into a solid pass-protector who doesn’t get the big-money quarterback killed this year, the Panthers will feel even better about locking him down.