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March 03, 2009

Diggs restructured, 3 others get increases

The Carolina Panthers created some salary cap room by extending and restructuring the contract of linebacker Na'il Diggs, which helped offset a combined cap growth of $2.8 million to the 2009 base salaries of running back Jonathan Stewart, linebacker Thomas Davis and defensive end Tyler Brayton due to contract accelerators they earned last season, according to NFL Players Association documents.

Stewart, Davis and Brayton had escalators in their contracts to reward them for things such as statistical achievments, playing time, performance, etc. Stewart, who rushed for a team rookie record of 836 yards and scored 10 touchdowns, earned an additional $1 million to raise his '09 base salary from $1.74 million to $2.74 million. Davis, who ranked second on the team with 136 tackles, more than tripled his '09 base salary from $700,000 to $2.2 million.

Brayton earned $300,000 in escalators, the maximum his contract allowed, to increase his '09 base pay from $1.8 million to $2.1 million. He started all 16 games last season, totalling a career-high 4 1/2 sacks and 59 tackles, just two shy of the career high he set as a rookie with Oakland in 2003.

Diggs' contract was due to expire in 2010, but was extended to 2014. He likely received some guaranteed money to be prorated over the life of the new contract and thus provide salary cap relief. His '09 base salary dropped by $725,00 from $1.65 million to $925,000, and went down from $2 million in 2010 to $855,000.

The Panthers previously extended the contracts of defensive tackles Damione Lewis and Maake Kemoeatu in similar fashion for cap help, stretching them from 2010 to 2014.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on March 3, 2009 at 12:11 PM | Permalink


With every passing hour the Panthers fall further and further out of touch with NFC playoff contenders.

Other teams have raided the Panthers cuz they know Marty is powerless while the Big Cat is on the mend and the Richardson crown princes dither.

The DL and OL are a shambles right now. I team with a #1 has about 72 more hrs. to get well or they're stuck.

Posted by: JAT | Mar 3, 2009 12:52:06 PM

This tells us that they either have some trade interest in Lucas, they want to keep him long enough so that other NFC South teams have already acquired their CBs before releasing him or something is brewing with Peppers and they will have room to keep him.. Starting FA CBs are getting $7-9 Million so I would think someone would want him @$6 Million.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 3, 2009 12:59:59 PM

Hey Charles,
The Redskins just released Jason Taylor;
Is there any chance that the Panthers can try
to get him in if the Price's right? I think he can help our pass rush defense.

Posted by: A. sapu | Mar 3, 2009 1:02:48 PM

With all the rumors of Cutler being traded, and the Broncos who I think play a 3-4 if im not mistaken but I might be wrong, what are the chances, if any, that the panthers may trade Peppers for Cutler. It seems like a perfect way to get our QB of the future in somebody with a ton of upside. Additionally, we would rarely, if ever, play against Peppers.

Posted by: Adam | Mar 3, 2009 1:05:25 PM

Uh...JAT, how is our OL and DL in shambles? We're returning all of our starters from last year, and had a pretty good year on both lines last year. Granted, we're going to have to replace Peppers next year, but that's life in the NFL. We'll have a #1 next year and will likely look at free agency next year to replace Pep. We can't add a big-time player this year because we essentially added Pep by tagging him. By paying him 16M, and signing Gross we're kind of tapped out right now in terms of who else we can bring in. Are you familiar with the salary cap? We don't have an unlimited amount of money to spend.

Posted by: Tim | Mar 3, 2009 1:09:44 PM


What in gods name are you babbling about? Did you just decided to post on a Panthers article today without knowing ANYTING about anything? Our OLINE is in shambles because we lost a backup? You should probably just NOT post something next time

Posted by: ED | Mar 3, 2009 1:21:06 PM


What in gods name are you babbling about? Did you just decided to post on a Panthers article today without knowing ANYTING about anything? Our OLINE is in shambles because we lost a backup? You should probably just NOT post something next time

Posted by: ED | Mar 3, 2009 1:21:11 PM

I think the Panthers should try and execute a trade of Jake Delhomme and Julius Peppers for Jay Cutler and the Broncos 2nd-round draft selection. Essentially we would be getting a 2nd-round pick for Delhomme and a presumed franchise QB for Peppers. I would imagine that this would clear up a great deal of cap space for the team, which would allow them to address the depth issues on both lines.

Does anyone else support this proposition?

Posted by: Mr. R | Mar 3, 2009 1:35:41 PM

Why do the Panthers need to trade Peppers right now. The Jared Allen deal took place the week of the draft last year. Right now the Panthers have all 22 starters back from a 12-4 team. Nobody else in football can say that this year. The peppers situation is a win win for the Panthers. If they deal him they will get picks and cap relief. If they don't then they have a DE that had 14.5 sacks back next year.

Posted by: Eric | Mar 3, 2009 1:37:37 PM

saying our oline is in shambles is probably the most ignorant comment ive ever heard. You could say our depth is hurt, or we face uncertanity if someone were to go down, but to say a line that returns all 5 starters is in shambles is pretty dumb. We drafted hangartner in the 5th round, is it inconvievable that we can't replace him with the same 5th round pick?

Posted by: justin | Mar 3, 2009 1:38:06 PM

Jason Taylor opposite JP(long term contract just around the corner???)Such a combo potential combo is interesting, but the $$$ are not there plus take a closer look at why he is no longer in Washington the skins let taylor go because he was unwilling to attend 75% of the teams off-season program. As much as he is a player on Sundays i wouldn't want a well "I've-been-there-done-that-so-i-dont-need-to-do-that" type guy who isn't going to be comitted to the team just because he is a vet...he may get a sack every now and than but he clearly is no longer about doing all that is needed for a team to win--work or chemistry wise

Posted by: Nebcatfan | Mar 3, 2009 1:47:32 PM

Guys, give it up on trading for Jay Cutler. Regardless of what we think, Fox loves Delhomme and he WILL be our starter next year.


We are returning every single starter from a 12-4 season, so what exactly are you talking about being in shambles?

Finally, we need D-line help, but Peppers would have to agree to any trade we can come up with, which severely limits our possibilities. I hate that we are paying him 17 mil too, but the bottom line is, you do not let a player like him walk with no compensation, so we are kind of strapped at the moment. The good news is that if he IS back with the team next year, he will HAVE to play hard all season. He has no long term deal and he is turning 30, so if he has a down year he will not be able to cash in next offseason. On the offensive side, hopefully Schwartz and Bernadeau make huge strides during this offseason and training camp so they can come in and contribute as backups next year. Aside from that, barring a blockbuster trade deal with Peppers, I would expect the Panthers to pick up a few role players (linemen, special teamers and maybe a CB) and sign their draft picks without making ANY huge moves in free agency. Any of you who think we are going to or even that we SHOULD make huge waves this offseason play too many video games.

However, I do find the suggestion of trading Lucas for Torry Holt intriguing. Holt is definitely on the decline, but he would make a great 3rd receiver (if Jake would learn to read through his progressions that far) and a wonderful locker-room presence.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 3, 2009 1:57:52 PM

I have been wondering why no else is talking about a Peppers/Cutler trade? Hadn't consider throwing Delhomme in there too, but I think that is a great idea! If media counts are correct, its starting to sound like Cutler wants to play in Denver about as much as Peppers wants to be in Charlotte...give them both fresh starts!

Also the Lucas/Holt trade sounds very intriguing...might there be a possibilty to pick up another 2nd or 3rd pick in trade as well?

And Steve...I haven't played a video game in ten years. These trades make sense for all parties involved. (Maybe except on the Delhomme-side for the Bronco's...they would be getting "the best back in the League" at quaterback).

Posted by: rabbi | Mar 3, 2009 2:15:06 PM

Send Peppers to Denver for Cutler and a second round pick. Pep gets the 3-4 and we get an up and coming QB. Everyone's happy.

Posted by: Mitch | Mar 3, 2009 2:30:17 PM

6-10, folks.

Write it down. This team has NO depth where it counts the most. How many STARTS are returning on the OL -- Cats lost a bunch so far and replaced them with ?????

Two words guys: Matt Willig.

That is the kind of talent you got to look forward to on the roster.

Posted by: JAT | Mar 3, 2009 2:33:58 PM

Steve, you by far posted the most sensible comments on this story. Everyone else has pie in the sky ideas about what the Panthers should do. Please expalain why Denver would trade a young pro bowl quarterback for a mid-career pro bowl DE and a end of career QB, especially with Cassel no longer available. That would be franchise suicide.

Posted by: Jermel | Mar 3, 2009 2:38:57 PM


Two words: Chill out!
It's March 3rd. The season doesn't start tomorrow. We haven't even had a draft yet. 67 out of 80 "starts" returning. How many teams can boast that?

In the meantime, can we please ban the mentioning of Matt Willig ever again?

Posted by: Zach | Mar 3, 2009 2:51:43 PM

Yes, rabbi, you are right. The trade would make perfect sense to everyone involved...

Except how would it be a good decision for Denver to trade a 25 yr old Pro Bowl QB for a 29 yr old DE who is known for only playing half the time and wants to be the highest paid defensive player in the league and a 35 yr old QB who is not even a 60% career passer, has had Tommy John surgery and spent the biggest game of last season playing keep away from Carolina's receivers on the way to handing the Cards a trip to the Super Bowl?

I'm all ears...

Posted by: Steve | Mar 3, 2009 3:02:48 PM

JAT said: "How many STARTS are returning on the OL -- Cats lost a bunch so far and replaced them with ?????"

You're an idiot JAT. WE HAVEN'T LOST ANY STARTERS ON THE O-LINE!!! just back ups that we have helped mold from players who come out of late round picks. Hangartner was a 5th round draft pick. We are good at molding new blockers, that is one strength that we do have. But to say that we lost STARTERS is stupid! you just make yourself sound more like an idiot every time! watch a Panthers game and learn about the teams STARTERS before you make a dumb comment.

Posted by: Cameron | Mar 3, 2009 3:05:20 PM

I for one would love a Peppers & Joke Gohomme for Cutler and a draft pick. However Hurney and Fox will never do it just like they have never brought in anyone to compete with Joke.

The Rams resigned Rod Bartell so I don't see them trading Torry Holt for Lucas. Detroit was and is the only team desperate enough to actually give the Panthers any type of compensation for a CB that can't cover.

Posted by: J Thomas | Mar 3, 2009 3:07:25 PM

Everyone needs to just be quite about the TEAMS losses this off season, and let John Fox work his magic! I didn't see anyone complain about loosing all of our quarterbacks, when we still made it into the playoffs last year. On our 4th starting quarterback! All I am saying is John F. loves his O-Line, So he must have a plan for the upcoming season!

Posted by: Zac | Mar 3, 2009 3:07:52 PM

You Cutler lovers are ridiculous. We have a QB who has been to two NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl (in which he out dueled Tom Brady) and you all want to throw him under the bus because he had 3 bad games last year?? Thank GOD you people don't run my football team. Jake was not just good...he was EXCELLENT in 13 games last year. I'll take that along with the best running game in the NFL any day. There are NO problems on our offense other than beefing up the OL depth.

Let's take a look at Jay Cutler shall we? Aside from Bret Favre, he led the league in INT's....something you CANNOT do with the defense we have. He played in what was by FAR the worst division in football. He played 3 of the worst defenses TWICE each. He had two of the best receivers in football along side him. And what did he accomplish? An 8-8 record and NO playoffs.

The Panther D allowed 30+ points in every game the last two months except for 1. What game was that? OH yeah. The one against Jay Cutler and the Denver Broncos.

Yeah, there's your savior.

Posted by: Wes | Mar 3, 2009 3:43:53 PM

People need to realize that if Pep doesn't get dealt, he WILL play for us and he will be playing damn hard because it will basically just be another contract year for him. At his age, he cannot hold out.

We need DL depth BAD and another corner to replace Lucas. I love Richard Marshall. But he is not a starter in this league yet. Gamble, frankly, is money. I had my doubts for a while about him, but I was wrong. He is a lockdown corner. Godfrey will be a year older and have a year of experience under him. Another year under the belt won't hurt Beason, either. As good as he is, he still makes some young guy mistakes that are, now, hopefully behind him.

I would take the EXACT lineup we had last year, sans Lucas, and be damn happy with it. The younger guys are more experienced and hopefully Fox will let Meeks have a say in the defensive scheme.....because as bad as the players played toward the end of the year, the scheme was worse. Whether it was Fox or Trgovac doesn't matter. The fact is: it needs to change. I believe the Panthers will be VERY well off come next season.

Posted by: Wes | Mar 3, 2009 3:49:43 PM

Forget any kind of Pep/Culter trade with Denver..... but write this down. Pep is going to New England. New England is trying to clear up the salaries to sign him. New England now has 4 early picks. I look for the Panthers to gab thier first round and one of thier 2nd round picks in exchange for Pep.

Posted by: Mike | Mar 3, 2009 3:53:35 PM

Some of the comments on here are asinine. JAT, go pull for the Cowgirls. We don't want you as a Panthers fan. You're a dolt. As for the Cutler comments, Denver will not trade Cutler as sweet as that would be. We might, or might not, trade Pep but that's in the hands of his agent. He has to find a deal that suits both parties and then the Panthers get to decide if they want to deal or not. Plus, Pep has to sign the franchise tender before we can consider any offers. We're set up perfect right now although we do lack the depth at various positions. Patients Cats fanz.

Posted by: Wow | Mar 3, 2009 4:06:17 PM

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