Panthers restructure Shaq Thompson’s contract

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
Getty Images

The Panthers have made another move to create some cap space.

Carolina announced on Monday that the team has restructured linebacker Shaq Thompson‘s contract. Thompson was set to count $18.1 million against the Panthers’ cap in 2022, per

According to multiple reports, Carolina gained about $5 million in cap space with Thompson’s restructured deal. That gives the club about $29 million in cap room.

The Panthers’ only higher cap number is quarterback Sam Darnold at $18.9 million.

Thompson was second on the Panthers with 104 tackles in 2022, also recording 2.0 sacks and a pair of interceptions. Thompson, the 25th overall pick in 2015, missed three games with a foot injury.

Carolina also restructured offensive tackle Taylor Moton’s contract last week to create $11 million in cap room.

The Panthers have brought back three pending free agents in Frankie Luvu, Ian Thomas, and J.J. Jansen.

Panthers restructure Taylor Moton’s contract to clear cap space

Atlanta Falcons v Carolina Panthers
Getty Images

The Panthers created some salary cap room Friday ahead of the start of the league year.

They restructured the contract of right tackle Taylor Moton, the team announced. Ellis Williams of The Charlotte Observer reports the move frees up $11 million of cap space.

The move will add $3.7 million to each future year.

Moton signed a five-year, $85 million contract last summer.

The Panthers already re-signed pending free agents Frankie Luvu, Ian Thomas and J.J. Jansen. They have 19 unrestricted free agents.

Yetur Gross-Matos wouldn’t have practiced for Panthers Monday

NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Steelers at Panthers
Getty Images

When Panthers head coach Matt Rhule met with the media on Monday, he said that left guard Pat Elflein is unlikely to play against the Texans on Thursday night due to a hamstring injury so it was no surprise to see him listed as a non-participant in practice on the team’s estimated injury report.

Rhule also said that he is concerned about defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos‘ ankle and Gross-Matos also would have sat out practice on Monday. Gross-Matos had one tackle on nine defensive snaps in Sunday’s win over the Saints.

Rhule said there was no concern about running back Christian McCaffrey after he missed some time with cramping on Sunday. He’s not on the injury report at all.

Tackle Cameron Erving (knee) and defensive end Morgan Fox (ankle) would have been limited participants. G Dennis Daley (hip), T Taylor Moton (ankle), RB Giovanni Ricci (knee), and TE Tommy Tremble (groin) would have fully participated in the session.

Panthers add Taylor Moton to injury report

New York Jets v Carolina Panthers
Getty Images

Thursday’s injury report in Carolina included a new name from the starting offensive line.

Right tackle Taylor Moton was added to the report after reporting tightness in his groin at the start of practice. Moton wound up being listed as a limited participant, which will make his status on Friday something to watch because Moton would be a big piece to lose against the Saints’ defensive line.

Trent Scott and Brady Christensen would be options to take Moton’s spot if he can’t go on Sunday.

Guards John Miller (illness) and Pat Elflein (hip) were upgraded to full participation after getting in a limited session on Wednesday. Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (groin) remained limited for the second straight day.

Brian O’Neill sees right tackles getting paid, but focusing on football

NFL: DEC 13 Vikings at Buccaneers
Getty Images

The Colts and Braden Smith agreed on a contract extension this week that continued a trend of right tackles cashing in this offseason.

Deals for the Saints’ Ryan Ramczyk and the Panthers’ Taylor Moton came together before Smith’s agreement and all of the developments have landed on the radar of Vikings right tackle Brian O'Neill. The 2018 second-round pick is in the final year of his rookie contract and said Thursday that he’s taken note of the rising compensation for his peers around the league.

For now, that’s all he’s doing because he’s keeping his attention on the field while his agents take care of negotiations on his next contract.

“My focus is 100 percent on football this whole camp, this whole week,” O’Neil said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “There’s people that handle that — the front office here, and my agent — so it’ll play itself out. I want to be here, I love it here, and we’ve got to finish what we started.”

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said that the team would love to get a deal done with O’Neill, who has started 44 games between the regular season and postseason. That just leaves the not insignificant task of finding the right number for both sides.

Colts hope to sign Darius Leonard, Braden Smith to long-term deals before season

Jacksonville Jaguars v Indianapolis Colts
Getty Images

All offseason, the Colts have expressed a desire to sign linebacker Darius Leonard and right tackle Braden Smith to long-term deals. They now have 51 days to get that done before the season opener.

“We don’t have anything to report right now, but we’d like to see both of those players get extensions before the season starts,” owner Jim Irsay said Thursday, via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.

Offensive guard Quenton Nelson, another member of the team’s prized 2018 draft class, has two years remaining on his deal because of the fifth-year option given to first-round draft picks. But the Colts want to sign Nelson to a long-term deal sooner than later, too.

“We’re working on it, and I think any time you deal with extensions — I’ve been dealing with them for decades — it takes two to tango, and there’s a compromising aspect,” Irsay said. “You sign early and get protection against injury, that guarantee, that sort of peace of mind, and the team gets consideration of doing it early.”

The Colts have blueprints for deals for Smith and Leonard. The 49ers signed linebacker Fred Warner to a five-year extension this week worth $95.225 million over the life of the deal, the biggest ever given to an off-the-ball linebacker. Carolina right tackle Taylor Moton last week came to agreement on a four-year extension that will pay him $18 million a season, while New Orleans right tackle Ryan Ramczyk became the highest-paid at the position last month with a $19.51 million average value.

“We always give great deals to our players,” Irsay said. “It’s been that way going back 20 years. Extensions we’ve signed, and the players we’ve extended into second contracts is a long list, and they’ve always been done fairly, and tried to look at it from their point of view.”

Six players will play out season on franchise tag

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions
Getty Images

Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton was the only player to beat the clock and sign an extension before Thursday afternoon’s deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign multi-year contracts with their teams.

Moton agreed to a four-year, $72 million pact with the Panthers shortly before the deadline, which leaves six other players to play out the season under the terms of the tag. They are Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, Jets safety Marcus Maye, Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson, Washington guard Brandon Scherff, and Saints safety Marcus Williams.

All six of those players have signed their tenders and will be unable to negotiate a longer deal until after the 2021 season. It is the second straight year that Scherff will play under the tag.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Broncos safety Justin Simmons and Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams were also tagged, but all three signed extensions earlier in the offseason.

Taylor Moton, Panthers agree to four-year, $72 million extension


At least one franchise-tagged player will sign a long-term deal with his current franchise on Thursday.

Offensive tackle Taylor Moton has agreed to terms with the Panthers on a contract extension before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, the team announced. According to multiple reports, the deal is for four years and $72 million with $43 million guaranteed.

Moton was scheduled to play the 2021 season under the franchise tag at $13.754 million. He had quickly signed the franchise tender in March.

Carolina drafted Moton in the second round of the 2017 draft. While he appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, he’s started every contest over the last three seasons. In 2020, Moton played 100 percent of Carolina’s offensive snaps.

Moton’s new deal makes him one of the highest-paid right tackles in football, with an average annual value of $18 million. That’s below the $19.51 million average value of New Orleans’ Ryan Ramczyk, who agreed to a five-year extension with the Saints late last month.

Moton joins Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Broncos safety Justin Simmons, and Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams as franchise-tagged players who have signed long-term extensions in 2021.

Report: Marcus Williams, Saints unlikely to beat deadline for long-term deal

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons
Getty Images

Panthers offensive tackle Taylor Moton agreed to terms on a long-term deal Thursday afternoon, but it appears the other franchise-tagged players without a long-term deal won’t get one.

The deadline is fast approaching, minutes left instead of hours, days or months, for Bears receiver Allen Robinson, Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin, Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson, Washington guard Brandon Scherff, Jets safety Marcus Maye and Saints safety Marcus Williams.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports Williams and the Saints “don’t appear on track to do a deal, despite both sides working on making it happen. So barring a dramatic turn, just one deal today.”

The franchise tag guarantees Williams $10.612 million for this season.

Williams has 246 tackles, 13 interceptions, one interception return for a touchdown, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a sack in 60 regular-season starts for New Orleans. He also has 38 tackles and an interception in seven playoff games.

The Saints and Williams can begin negotiating again after the 2021 season.

Will any franchise-tag deals get done?

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
Getty Images

The NFL is a deadline-driven business. A key deadline is currently driving up on several teams.

Currently, however, there’s no indication that any of the franchise-tagged players who have not signed long-term deals will sign long-term deals before today’s 4:00 p.m. ET deadline. As one source with knowledge of the dynamics explained it, the Saints and safety Marcus Williams are the most likely to get something done.

Other franchise-tagged players include Bears receiver Allen Robinson, Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin, Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson, Washington guard Brandon Scherff, Jets safety Marcus Maye, and Panthers tackle Taylor Moton.

The reasons vary for the inability to strike deals. Per a league source, Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin want more guaranteed money than their teams will offer, as much as three years guaranteed for skill, injury, and cap. (The Bucs also believe they need to be sensitive to the presence of Mike Evans.) Brandon Scherff, who has been tagged a second time and who as a practical matter won’t be tagged again, has more leverage than the rest of the tagged players, and he’s using it.

Marcus Maye, as we hear it, simply isn’t interested in committing long-term to the Jets at this point. As to Cam Robinson, the new coaching staff in Jacksonville is leery about making a long-term commitment until it gets a chance to assess him as a player.

In past years, the formula for converting a first franchise tag into a long-term deal has gone like this: Fully guarantee the first two years at the franchise-tag amounts (base value for current year and 20-percent raise for the next year), with three non-guaranteed years on the back end.

Absent long-term deals by 4:00 p.m. ET, no tagged player can sign a long-term deal until after the regular season. Since all of the tagged players have signed their one-year tenders, all currently are and will remain under contract, regardless of whether a long-term deal is done.

It’s deadline day for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term deals

New York Jets v Los Angeles Rams
Getty Images

Thursday afternoon marks a deadline for the seven players who are currently set to play out the season under the franchise tag.

If no long-term deal is agreed to ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline, those players will move forward under the tag and will not be able to sign multi-year pacts with their current teams until after the 2021 season. Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, Jets safety Marcus Maye, Panthers tackle Taylor Moton, Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson, Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson, Washignton guard Brandon Scherff, and Saints safety Marcus Williams make up that group.

Reports in recent days have suggested that none of those players will be signing extensions ahead of the deadline. All seven have signed their tags, so they are set to move forward without any holdouts at training camp.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Broncos safety Justin Simmons and Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams all signed extensions that took their tags off the table early in the offseason.

Report: “Nothing imminent” between Bucs, Chris Godwin on long-term deal

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Minicamp
Getty Images

The Buccaneers used the franchise tag on Chris Godwin this offseason, keeping one of the league’s best receiving corps intact for 2021. Both sides would love a long-term deal for the receiver.

But with the deadline looming to complete a deal, there is “nothing imminent on that front,” Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports.

Godwin is one of seven franchise-tagged players who haven’t signed a long-term deal and have until July 15 to get a multi-year contract done. Otherwise, they will play 2021 on the one-year tender.

Safety Marcus Maye, safety Marcus Williams, guard Brandon Scherff, offensive tackle Taylor Moton, receiver Allen Robinson and offensive tackle Cam Robinson are the others currently slated to play on the tag.

Godwin is scheduled to make $15.983 million on the franchise tag.

He had 65 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 regular-season games last year. He added 16 catches for 232 yards and a score in the postseason.

One week left for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term deals

NFL: DEC 27 Bears at Jaguars
Getty Images

July is a quiet month around the NFL until training camps get underway, but there is sometimes a flurry of activity involving franchise-tagged players in the middle of the month.

The deadline for those players to sign long-term deals with their current teams is July 15. Any player who does not sign such a contract and has signed their tag will play out the year under the terms of the franchise tag.

Ten players were tagged earlier this year and three of them — Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, Broncos safety Justin Simmons and Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williamas — have signed new deals. The other seven have all signed their tag and are listed below with the salary they’ll make if they don’t land new deals in the next week.

Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin ($15.983 million).

Jets safety Marcus Maye ($10.612 million).

Panthers tackle Taylor Moton ($13.754 million).

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson ($17.88 million).

Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson ($13.754 million).

Washington guard Brandon Scherff ($18.036 million).

Saints safety Marcus Williams (10.612 million).

Report: Panthers want long-term deal with Taylor Moton

NFL: DEC 27 Panthers at Washington Football Team
Getty Images

The Saints signed right tackle Ryan Ramczyk to a five-year extension on Wednesday and the fallout from that agreement could impact another NFC South club.

Panthers right tackle Taylor Moton got the franchise tag early this offseason and has a couple of weeks before the July 15 deadline to reach a long-term deal with the team. Joseph Person of reports that the team wants to get that deal done ahead of the deadline, but there’s no word on how close they may be to an agreement.

Ramczyk’s deal makes him the highest-paid right tackle in the league with an average annual salary of $18 million. Moton is set to play for $13.754 million under the terms of the tag.

The Colts are also reportedly working on an extension with Braden Smith, so the Panthers and Moton may get more definition of the right tackle market as they try to work things out in the coming days.

Chris Godwin signs franchise tender

NFL: FEB 07 Super Bowl LV - Chiefs v Buccaneers
Getty Images

As the Buccaneers begin their attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champions, one piece of business has been completed.

According to multiple reports, wide receiver Chris Godwin has signed his franchise tender, locking in his $15.983 million salary for 2021. Godwin and Tampa Bay may still negotiate a long-term deal until July 15.

If the two sides do agree on a longer contract, then that could provide some immediate cap relief for the franchise.

This is Godwin’s first time being tagged. He’s the third player to sign his franchise tender this year, following Washingotn’s Brandon Scherff and Carolina’s Taylor Moton. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott also was tagged, but he’ll be playing under his new contract.

In four years with Tampa Bay, Godwin has recorded 244 receptions for 3,540 yards with 24 touchdowns. He caught 65 passes for 840 yards with seven TDs in 12 games last season.