The Carolina Panthers have placed a second-round tender on left guard Andrew Norwell, meaning one of the mainstays of the offensive line is guaranteed at least $2.75 million this season.
As a restricted free agent, Norwell can still talk to other teams. But the Panthers can match any offer sheet or receive a second-round draft pick if they choose not to.
As the Observer reported Monday, reserve wide receivers Philly Brown and Brenton Bersin were not tendered. While Brown will be allowed to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent, the Panthers signed Bersin to a one-year deal.
The Panthers also chose not to make a qualifying offer on wideout LaRon Byrd, who spent all of 2016 on injured reserve after sustaining a concussion during a preseason game.
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Carolina also tendered a pair of exclusive-rights free agents – punter Michael Palardy and center Tyler Larsen, who started the final five games last season following injuries to Ryan Kalil and Gino Gradkowski.
Palardy was signed in November after veteran punter Andy Lee went on injured reserve with a hamstring issue. Palardy averaged 42.5 yards per punt, with a net of 37.9 yards.
Norwell, 25, has started 38 games in three seasons since the Panthers signed him out of Ohio State in 2014. He is part of the Panthers’ contingent who traveled to Germany this week on a USO/NFL tour.
The Panthers placed the same, second-round tender on right tackle Mike Remmers last year. After being forced to switch to left tackle because of Michael Oher’s concussion in 2016, Remmers is an unrestricted free agent and not considered a priority for Carolina.
The Panthers’ decision to let Brown become a free agent comes after he saw his playing time and production slip in 2016.
Brown, the Panthers’ leading receiver in Super Bowl 50, finished last season with career lows in receiving yardage (276), receiving touchdowns (one) and yards-per-catch average (10.2).