Inside the Panthers

Kuechly not focused on contract talks

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, right, speaks with the media after exiting the team's dorm on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC on Friday, July 31, 2015.
Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, right, speaks with the media after exiting the team's dorm on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC on Friday, July 31, 2015. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly said the $103 million extension quarterback Cam Newton received in June was well deserved.

Kuechly is confident the Panthers will lock him up with a long-term deal, too. And he doesn't seem worried about getting it done before the season starts.

"I'm the same way I was in OTAs. I'm not concerned about it," Kuechly said Thursday after checking in to his Wofford dorm. "This stuff gets done when it gets done. We trust the guys in the building. So it'll get done when it needs to get done."

Just as they did last year with Newton, the Panthers have picked up Kuechly's fifth-year option. He's set to make $2.1 million this year, and would make a guaranteed $11.1 million in 2016 if he plays under the option.

But the Panthers hope to get an extension done before then for a player who's gone to two Pro Bowls, twice led the league in tackles and has won Defensive Rookie and Defensive Player of the Year.

General manager Dave Gettleman has said he won't negotiate with any player during the season. So if the Panthers don't reach an agreement with Kuechly in the next six weeks, the deal likely won't get done until next offseason.

The low-key Kuechly reiterated he's not focused on the contract talks.

"It's one of those things it's going to happen when it happens," he said. "For right now, I know I've got a room. I know hopefully I've got a locker down there. And that's all I really need right now."

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson

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