Inside the Panthers

Thomas Davis says he got deal he wanted without hurting Panthers, and ‘I’m here’

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, whose contract extension was announced by the team on Tuesday, said Wednesday he was able to get something done without harming the franchise’s ability to do other deals.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, whose contract extension was announced by the team on Tuesday, said Wednesday he was able to get something done without harming the franchise’s ability to do other deals. AP

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis heard the talk from outside the organization after Marty Hurney returned as interim general manager last month.

The Panthers brought Hurney back so he can fix the contract situations with Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen. Watch him overpay those guys.

While Davis praised Hurney’s handling of the contract negotiations, he says he never wanted to put the team in a financial bind when he sought to extend his contract past this season.

Davis, 34, on Tuesday signed a one-year extension worth $6.75 million. It’s an incentive-laden deal that includes $2 million in guaranteed money this year and $1 million guaranteed in 2018.

“It’s a deal unlike (what) most people thought. You hear a lot of people talking about it on the outside ... about Marty coming in and paying a boatload of money,” Davis said Wednesday. “But people have to understand and realize that’s not what we were looking for in the beginning anyway. We just wanted something in place, something moving forward, and now we have that.”

Davis, one of the most popular players in team history, found himself in the middle of a public firestorm last month after Panthers owner Jerry Richardson fired GM Dave Gettleman a week before the start of training camp.

The Observer reported that the contract situations with Davis and Olsen represented the tipping point in the decision to remove Gettleman, a notion both players disputed.

After Wednesday’s joint practice with the Titans, Davis reiterated he had begun negotiating with the Panthers before Gettleman was fired.

Davis says he’s “pretty sure at some point” he would have reached an agreement under Gettleman’s watch, but he also said Hurney was able to close it.

“Marty’s a professional and he’s a guy that’s done that job for a long time,” Davis said. “And he got the job done. I’m here. The contract is done and it’s all about moving forward for this season.”

Davis said the way the contract is structured, it won’t prevent the Panthers from signing or re-signing other players.

Olsen, who has two years left on his deal, is looking for a contract that better reflects his place among the league’s top tight ends. Defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and left guard Andrew Norwell are both in contract years.

“It’s fair for me as a player and it’s fair for the organization moving forward,” Davis said. “It’s not going to be a situation where it’s going to limit us from being able to sign other guys in the future, and I’m happy about that.”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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