The track record for Panthers veterans getting extra money (or keeping the money they were already due) isn’t great under General Manager Dave Gettleman.
But few Panthers have given as much to the organization as Thomas Davis, and he’s hoping that’s recognized and rewarded.
The 34-year-old linebacker said during an interview on WFNZ’s Primetime with Chris Kroeger that he’s hoping to extend his deal with the team before the season starts.
“That’s something all players in the last year of their deal, especially for guys who have put up the numbers I’ve put up and played the way I’ve played the last few years, you’d hope something get worked out,” Davis said. “We’re not actively talking now, but hopefully we can do something before training camp happens.”
Davis is entering the final year of his contract, and other players there are asking for similar things. But as much as any player in franchise history, Davis is embedded into their culture. He’s come back from three torn ACLs, played in the Super Bowl with a broken arm, and has played his best football the last two years (with an All-Pro nod and two Pro Bowls).
But he’s also been around long enough to know that there are few storybook endings, at least since Gettleman took over there. While popular players such as DeAngelo Williams and Jordan Gross left with bad tastes on their way out, the acrimony was even greater when they got rid of Davis’s close friend Steve Smith. Smith went onto Baltimore to finish his career, and Davis is hoping he doesn’t have to replicate that.
“From a football standpoint and a community standpoint, Charlotte is always going to be home for me, and that’s my mindset,” Davis said. “I feel like there are a lot of people within our organization who feel the same way about me. But at the end of the day, it is a business and I understand that. Whatever happens moving forward there won’t be any hard feelings from me. But I definitely plan on extending my career beyond this year.
“Hopefully that would never come to fruition with me that I would have to play for another team. That’s not something that I look to do. And hopefully we can get something worked out here soon in terms of a contract extension. I don’t think you’ll find a player who cares more about the organization or a team than I do the Carolina Panthers. It goes above and beyond being a football player. I totally embrace the ‘Keep Pounding’ motto and it’s part of my lifestyle and everything I do.”
Working against Davis is the fact they drafted his eventual replacement two years ago (first-rounder Shaq Thompson) and the Panthers aren’t in the habit of handing out gold watches. So the looming negotiation between the team and one of their cornerstones could get awkward in a hurry.