Carolina Panthers

Panthers mailbag: Why hasn't first-round pick DJ Moore signed yet? Cause for worry?

Carolina Panthers rookie DJ Moore (12) has yet to sign his rookie contract, even though there's little to negotiate with the league's rookie scale. At issue might be how much of the deal is guaranteed.
Carolina Panthers rookie DJ Moore (12) has yet to sign his rookie contract, even though there's little to negotiate with the league's rookie scale. At issue might be how much of the deal is guaranteed. AP

We’re creeping ever closer toward that dark period on the NFL calendar — the six-week void between the end of minicamps and the start of training camps.

But that doesn’t mean everything will be quiet in team headquarters.

Dave Gettleman went to Cape Cod for his annual vacation last summer and returned to Charlotte to learn he didn’t have a job anymore.

There will be deals that get done over the next month and a half, including a fairly substantial one: The sale of the Panthers should become official while you’re on that beach trip in July.

In the meantime, you have nonanthem, football questions. We have answers:

Has DJ Moore signed yet? How much cap space do Panthers have left?

Moore, the Panthers’ first-round pick, has not yet signed his rookie deal. The former Maryland wideout is among the half of the 32 players taken in the first round in April who have yet to sign their contracts, including eight of the first nine picks.

I asked an NFL executive when fans should worry about a first-round pick who still hasn’t signed. His response: July.

The fact is that under the rookie wage scale that’s part of the current collective bargaining agreement, there just isn’t much for first-year players to negotiate. Moore’s four-year deal should be worth about $11.2 million, with a $6.2 million signing bonus.

But Moore, taken 24th overall, is likely trying to get his contract fully guaranteed, according to Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who writes for cbssports.com.

Corry points out that No. 22 pick Rashaan Evans received a fully guaranteed deal from the Titans. If Patriots OT Isaiah Wynn, the 23rd pick, also gets all his money guaranteed, Moore’s agent could fight for the same thing, Corry told me.

With that in mind, it makes little sense for Moore to sign until he sees what Wynn gets in terms of a fourth-year guarantee.

Addressing the second part of the question, the Panthers have about $6.6 million in cap space — more than enough to handle Moore's expected $2 million cap number.

Panthers newest wide receiver D.J. Moore talks about being drafted in the first round by the Panthers, his playing style, talking with Cam Newton, being complimented by Steve Smith Sr. and what D.J. stand for.

Time to extend Daryl Williams? Or lose another good OL?

Daryl Williams’ contract situation has flown under the radar this spring, not surprising for a player who has developed into one of the Panthers’ most consistent linemen while quietly going about his business.

Williams, a two-year starter at right tackle, is entering the final year of his rookie contract after the Panthers drafted him in the fourth round in 2015.

Williams, a former Oklahoma standout, is coming off a season in which he played every offensive snap and was ranked third among offensive tackles by the analytics site Pro Football Focus.

Like right guard Trai Turner last summer, Williams is viewed as a priority. I'd be mildly surprised if general manager Marty Hurney doesn't get a deal done by the start of the season.

How do you see the battles at CB and safety eventually shaping up?

These should be two of the more interesting position battles at training camp, certainly on the defensive side.

If OTAs are any indication, Kevon Seymour will enter camp as the early favorite to win the CB spot opposite James Bradberry (and formerly belonging to Daryl Worley).

The Panthers acquired Seymour in a trade with Buffalo (for WR Kaelin Clay) on roster cuts day last year. They’re hopeful the former USC standout will thrive after having a full offseason in Eric Washington’s system.

If Seymour falters, second-round pick Jackson likely would be the next man up. Former Broncos CB Lorenzo Doss has impressed during OTAs with his ball skills, while Charlotte native Ross Cockrell adds experience and depth.

At safety, offseason addition Da’Norris Searcy has been taking most of the first-team reps alongside veteran Mike Adams during OTAs. Searcy (5-11, 205) isn’t real big, but he’s still relatively young (29) with 56 career starts.

Who gets more playing time in 2018 between rookies Rashaan Gaulden and Donte Jackson?

Both Rashaan Gaulden and Donte Jackson are both versatile athletes who could line up against slot receivers. I’ll give the edge to Jackson for early playing time because of his elite speed.

Will David Tepper look to build a Panther Palace practice facility like Jerry Jones has in Texas?

As the Observer reported last month, David Tepper is at least considering doing his own JerryWorld, perhaps on the South Carolina side of the border. Given that Jerry Richardson-to-Tepper handoff won’t officially close until July, the practice facility talks obviously are still in the preliminary stage.

But Tepper didn’t build an $11 billion fortune on bad deals, and there’s a lot to a practice complex/mixed-use development that makes smart business sense — not the least of which is the prospect of public-private partnerships.

At the heart of The Star complex outside Dallas is a 12,000-seat indoor facility that is owned by the city of Frisco but managed by the Cowboys. The multiuse center hosts everything from high school football games and soccer matches to band competitions and commencement ceremonies.

The 91-acre, $1.5 billion development also includes retail and restaurant space, a 16-story hotel and a sports therapy facility.

Again, this is an idea still in its infancy. But Jones may have laid out an attractive blueprint for other owners to follow.

New Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper says that he feels comfortable with the area being strong in football and having great people.

What in the heck am I supposed to do between the end of Panthers OTAs and training camp?

We’re lucky to live in a state featuring breathtaking mountain views and beautiful beaches. Explore one or more of them.

Read a book. Ride a bike. Take in a Knights’ game. Go on a Charlotte microbrew tour.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson
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