Carolina Panthers

Could Greg Olsen’s desire for salary to match stats lead to training camp holdout?

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88), on a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, said again he’d like to be paid to reflect his production.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen (88), on a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, said again he’d like to be paid to reflect his production. jeason@charlotteobserver.com

The noise surrounding Greg Olsen’s desire to be paid among the top tight ends in the league amplified Wednesday, and could grow louder over the summer.

The Observer reported last week that Olsen wanted his contract to reflect his productivity, with Olsen saying he felt comfortable “with where I belong -- and hopefully other people do, too.”

Olsen, who has two years remaining on his deal, stated his case for a reworked contract on a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter (around the 32-minute mark) that was posted Wednesday but sounds like it was taped last week.

“I don’t hesitate to say, if you look back the last four years ... at not only the statistics, but the consistency, the productivity and the durability, all those things, there’s nobody that can match up and has done what I’ve done,” Olsen told Schefter. “That’s just the reality of it. Now whether or not that can be adjusted and reflected contractually, we’ll see. But the stats and the numbers, they all speak for themselves.”

The Panthers signed Olsen to a three-year extension worth $22.5 million in 2015. Since then, he became the first tight end in NFL history to post 1,000-yard seasons three years in a row while extending his consecutive starts streak with the Panthers to 80 games.

Olsen is the seventh highest-paid tight end with a per-year average of $7.5 million. He’s 12th at his position in terms of guaranteed money.

Olsen, 32, made it clear he wants a new deal, but said he isn’t sure what the team’s response will be.

“It’s something obviously we would love and we believe (from) our end we have a lot of ground to stand on. But it takes two to really get something like that accomplished,” Olsen said.

“We’ll see how things go over the summer. We’ll see what types of responses we get from the organization,” he added. “Hopefully they feel the same way that we do about my standing here as one of our leaders and one of our more productive players.”

Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman likely isn’t crazy about the idea of tearing up a contract that still has two years left on it, considering linebacker Thomas Davis – like Olsen, a Pro Bowler and a leader on the team and in the community – is entering the final year of his deal.

Schefter asked Olsen if he would consider a training camp holdout if there’s no movement on a restructured contract.

“I think it’s early on right now. I think as the summer goes on and we get some feedback from the organization about how they feel, we’ll make the best decision that we can,” Olsen said.

“But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that we feel very strongly about where we should be in that totem pole of the top tight ends. I’d be hard pressed to find anybody that could make a reasonable argument on the contrary.”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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