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Friday, February 20, 2009

Panthers Get 11th Hour Deals Done

All the pieces fell in line for Carolina at the last minute, getting a record deal done with OT Jordan Gross so they could franchise DE Julius Peppers. If not, there was a chance they would've simply franchised Gross to have more time to work out a deal, and would've completely lost out on any chance of keeping or trading Peppers.

Gross' deal has a term of 6 years, and is valued just short of $60 million. Exact terms aren't detailed, but as is typical of large deals, either a signing bonus figure or a total payout in the first few years is generally detailed. Because of the Deion Sanders rule, it's been noted that the deal pays out greater than half of the value in the first three years. It's expected that at around $22 million of the $30.5 million paid out over the next three years is in bonus form, giving Gross most likely a $12-14 million initial signing bonus and a roster bonus of $10 million in 2010. This bonus will follow the same form as Chris Gamble's - it will sit as a roster bonus for current purposes, it will be paid either way, but will be converted into signing bonus next year so it's spread over the remaining five years of the contract. The heavy signing bonus leaves $8.5 million for other salary, so it's unlikely that Gross' contract counts more than $5 million against the cap.

The team will have to clear $16.68 million against the cap for Peppers' franchise tag, and Gross' new contract, by February 27. The team also must designate tenders for its Restricted Free Agents, which will probably count cumulatively around $3 million. The team had around $18 million in space.

This blog started two years ago somewhat focusing on the contract situations of both Gross and Peppers; I've yet to talk about any one subject more. Both were named franchise player in that time, both named Pro Bowl/All-Pro in that time. Now, the team technically has both under contract, as well as Chris Gamble (signed mid-2008).
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