The Indianapolis Colts signed Dwight Freeney to the richest defensive contract in history, and the Panthers signed 3rd round pick Charles Johnson, the highest draft pick to be signed so far for the franchise.
Freeney's $72 million contract has a lot of impact on Julius Peppers, who the team has tried to sign to an extension for a few years now. Peppers should command a contract at least as big as that, probably in the 7 years, $90 million range, with a total bonus payout of at least the $30 million Freeney received.
Johnson's impact on Peppers' contract situation is nil, the only connection being their position - Johnson would be a left end if Peppers were to leave, but Peppers is still under contract for two years and not likely to leave. Even if the Panthers couldn't come to terms with Peppers in 07 or 08, they'd likely franchise tag him for 2009. Nonetheless, Johnson being signed is a positive step, being one of the few first-day draft picks to sign and giving the team more time to focus on the 3 draft picks they have to sign in the top 60 players.