Thomas Davis, at age 34, isn’t nearly done yet.
The Carolina Panthers linebacker signed a one-year extension with the team, announced on Tuesday afternoon. A source told the Observer that the deal is worth $6.75 million, with $3 million guaranteed ($2 million of which will come this year, and $1 million next year).
“Lifer, baby!” A jubilant Davis exclaimed in a video post on social media by the Panthers’ accounts. He was on a plane with teammates heading to Nashville for this week’s joint practices and exhibition game against the Tennessee Titans. “Now the only thing left to go do is win the Super Bowl.”
Negotiations had started between Davis’ representation and Carolina’s front office under prior general manager Dave Gettleman. Gettleman was fired by owner Jerry Richardson a week before the start of training camp, and interim general manager Marty Hurney stepped in.
An investigation by the Observer showed that contract discussions between both Davis and Gettleman, and tight end Greg Olsen and Gettleman, were factors in a series of events that soured Richardson toward Gettleman, especially the owner’s opinion of Gettleman’s “bedside manner” in negotiations.
Davis and Olsen both have since said that they don’t believe they had anything to do with Gettleman’s firing.
As Carolina’s first-round draft pick in 2006, Davis’ career showed no sign of slowing down after he returned from his third ACL tear in the same knee in 2012. He became Carolina’s all-time tackle leader last season with 1,086, after leading the team in 2016 with 132 tackles. His 10 interceptions (one for a touchdown) since 2012 rank second in the NFL among linebackers, behind Luke Kuechly.
“Really those three years allowed me to become the player that I've become – not only keeping my body fresh but ultimately making me focus in on never taking a play off,” Davis told the team website on Tuesday afternoon.
“It's about always putting in the best effort, putting your best foot forward. That's what I've been able to do these last five years and why I'm sitting in the position I'm in right now.”
Davis’ last deal was signed in 2015, for two years.
He told the team website he “would venture to say that this will probably be his last contract.”