Carolina Panthers

Source: 'Monster' financial gap between Panthers, key player in contract year

Carolina Panthers’ Daryl Williams will hit free agency next spring if a contract extension doesn’t get done. A league source recently told the Observer that it would be “shocking” if it did by training camp in July. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Carolina Panthers’ Daryl Williams will hit free agency next spring if a contract extension doesn’t get done. A league source recently told the Observer that it would be “shocking” if it did by training camp in July. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

The Carolina Panthers' contract negotiations with representatives for right tackle Daryl Williams face a "monster gap" financially between the player and the team, a source close to the process said.

A league source said Tuesday that it would be "shocking" if a contract extension happened for Williams before training camp in July.

Williams, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2015, is eligible for an extension before training camp. He started all 16 games for the Panthers last season and played every offensive snap, finishing the year as Pro Football Focus' highest-rated right tackle and with second-team All-Pro honors.

His development drew recent praise from head coach Ron Rivera.

"When he first got here, it was understanding how to practice. Then as he became a starter it was continuing to practice hard. Now it’s the consistency of how hard he practices,” Rivera said. "He's a smart player, understands the game, has good technique. But it's about coming to work every day and being consistent with that effort, (and) he's done a great job with that."

If a deal doesn't get done by the start of next spring's free agency period, Williams will be a free agent. The tackle market is competitive, and the offensive line market in general has become more robust in recent seasons because of a spike in the value of contracts given to offensive guards.

Williams told the Observer last week that he's focused on staying healthy — and his upcoming vacation in the Dominican Republic.

But he also made it clear that he'd love to stay with the organization.

"I love the Panthers, I love the organization (and) I love Charlotte," he said. "I hope I can finish the rest of my career here."

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Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071; @jourdanrodrigue
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