The Panthers reached agreement with first-round draft choice Luke Kuechly on Thursday, the eve of the team's rookie minicamp.
A league source said Kuechly, the former Boston College linebacker who is the NCAA's all-time leading tackler, agreed to a four-year contract worth $12.58 million, all of it guaranteed. Kuechly, the ninth overall pick in last month's draft, is the highest draft pick to agree to terms.
ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the terms of Kuechly's deal.
Kuechly, the only player to lead the ACC in tackles three years in a row, was expected to sign the contract Thursday night, according to the source.
The Panthers hope to have all seven of their draft picks under contract by Friday, the start of the three-day camp at their Bank of America Stadium practice facility.
Kuechly, a 6-3, 242-pound native of Cincinnati, had a streak of 33 consecutive games with double-digit tackles snapped in the Eagles' season finale against Miami. His average of 15.9 tackles last season and 14.0 tackles.