Carolina Panthers

Panthers interim GM Marty Hurney wastes no time handing out a contract extension

Carolina Panthers guard Trai Turner tweeted on Thursday that he has reached a contract agreement to stay with the team for four more seasons.
Carolina Panthers guard Trai Turner tweeted on Thursday that he has reached a contract agreement to stay with the team for four more seasons. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Marty Hurney’s first move in his second stint as the Carolina Panthers’ interim general manager did not take long to come together.

Pro Bowl right guard Trai Turner tweeted Thursday afternoon that his contract had been extended, allowing him to be “a Panther for 4 more years!!!”

Turner, a Pro Bowler the past two seasons, received a four-year extension worth $45 million with $20.5 million guaranteed, according to a league source. The Panthers gave Turner a $15 million signing bonus.

The $11.25 million per-year average makes Turner the NFL’s third highest-paid guard behind Cleveland’s Kevin Zeitler ($12 million) and Oakland’s Kelechi Osemele ($11.7 million).

Turner, 24, was entering the final year of his rookie contract. The four-year extension, relatively short by NFL standards, means Turner will be only 28 when he’s eligible for free agency after the 2021 season.

Hurney hinted at the move Wednesday during a press conference following his hiring.

Asked about the contract situations of veterans Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen, Hurney said: “I believe it’s Trai Turner’s last year as well.”

A team source said Rob Rogers, who handles the salary cap and contracts for the Panthers, had put the framework of the deal in place before Hurney was hired to replace Dave Gettleman.

Turner, a third-round pick out of LSU in 2014, became a starter early in his rookie season and started every game the past two seasons. Two of those starts came at right tackle in 2016 when the Panthers lacked the depth at tackle to adequately deal with injuries to Michael Oher and Daryl Williams.

The Panthers began the day Thursday $17 million below the salary cap, according to the NFLPA web site. It appears Davis will be Hurney’s next order of business.

Davis, 34, the team’s veteran linebacker, has an expiring contract that he wants extended. Davis told WCNC’s Kelsey Riggs this week that contract talks had begun before Gettleman’s exit.

Olsen, 32, the Pro Bowl tight end, has two years left on his deal but believes his production the past four seasons merits a raise.

Starting left guard Andrew Norwell will make $2.75 million this season after receiving a second-round tender as a restricted free agent. Norwell is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent after this season if the Panthers don’t reach a long-term agreement with him.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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