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May 10, 2012

Panthers reach deal with Luke Kuechly

The Panthers reached an agreement with first-round draft choice Luke Kuechly Thursday on the eve of the team's rookie minicamp.

A league source said Kuechly, the former Boston College linebacker who is the NCAA's all-time leading tackler, agreed to a four-year contract worth $12.58 million, all of it guaranteed. Kuechly, the ninth overall pick in last month's draft, is the highest draft pick to agree to terms.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the terms of Kuechly's deal.

Kuechly, the only player to lead the ACC in tackles three years in a row, was expected to sign the contract Thursday night, according to the source.

The Panthers hope to have all seven of their draft picks under contract by Friday, the start of the three-day camp at their Bank of America Stadium practice facility.

Kuechly, a 6-3, 242-pound native of Cincinnati, had a streak of 33 consecutive games with double-digit tackles snapped in the Eagles' season finale against Miami. His average of 15.9 tackles last season and 14.0 tackles over his three-year career are both NCAA records.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on May 10, 2012 at 08:49 PM | Permalink


Good, now all we gotta do is move T.Davis back to Strong Safety, pull Beason over To the WLB and Kick Sherod Martin over to special teams or nickel corner.

Posted by: Chuck | May 10, 2012 9:45:16 PM

I just wonder if Thomas Davis can come back from his three previous injuries?

Posted by: Black--Panther | May 10, 2012 9:48:02 PM

If not then Sherod Martin better step up and learn how to tackle!! Its a lot less cutting when playing safety since you are not as close to the line of scrimage, and not taking on those big lineman. That should help out on the knees a lil.

Posted by: Chuck | May 10, 2012 9:51:48 PM

Perhaps we should kick Sherrod to the curb. I cringed last year when i saw him in single coverage.

Posted by: deepenwide | May 10, 2012 10:05:14 PM

I'm really happy to see Kuechly signed. Our defense with the other additions will be top 10 this year for sure. With Cam not always under pressure to score on every drive and with our improved running game I expect at least 10 wins this season.

Posted by: deepenwide | May 10, 2012 10:09:16 PM

That might be a good plan...Davis back to safety. If he's healthy he could be a moster back there. That way we could get all 4 Davis, Beason, Anderson, and Kuechly in the startig line-up.

Posted by: buzzkill | May 10, 2012 10:11:33 PM

My thoughts exactly! Even if T.Davis doesn't run a 4.4 anymore if he is anywhere in the 4.5's he is still a potentialy great starting safety. Keep all the playmakers on the field! I like Kuechly better at MLB and maybe Beason calling plays from the Weak side untill He gets up to speed!

Posted by: Chuck | May 10, 2012 10:15:15 PM

I think it's crazy to thin TD can make a switch to safety coming off a third ACL injury and probably still carrying the bulk of a linebacker. He didn't exactly excel at safety his rookie year.

Posted by: Dan | May 10, 2012 10:26:35 PM

Are you kidding me. He was an All American safety coming out of college! And was an outstanding safety his first year. They, (Hurney and Fox) thought it better to use his speed and quickness closer to the line of scrimage covering tight ends etc, which wasn't a bad move at the time. I just dont think he can do it now! His legs cant take it bro.

Posted by: Chuck | May 10, 2012 10:34:09 PM

Got one even better for you Dan. With Kuechley in who is the odd man out at LB? If your answer is Davis which it should be then if you believe that he has any life left in him at football do you put him on special teams?
Why not just cut him? or see if he has anything left at his orignal position. Thats what I'm saying. He can lose the weight, that might help his legs out to!

Posted by: Chuck | May 10, 2012 10:39:03 PM

Thomas Davis would have to lose a lot of the muscle weight he gained when he transition to linebacker to go back to safety. Frankly, I'm not sure about him at safety. I remember his rookie year, John Fox started him at strong safety to see if he could handle it. Davis just doesn't have the coverage ability to handle WRs. Fox realized he was much better inside the box, not downfield.

I think Rivera and Hurney still have plans for Davis, but now they don't have to rely on him as a every down starter. Considering what has happened the past two years, not starting this year may be the best for him long term. Yes, players come back from knee injuries within a year, but a lot of them say they aren't fully 100% until after two years. With three torn ACLs on the same knee, it might be good to limit Davis this year.

I see Davis being used as a situation player for about 10-15 plays a game. He is a great player when healthy. I remember he played the role of spy against Michael Vick his rookie year, when we finally got over the hump and beat a Vick-led team. Fast, quick, and a good tackler, he is perfect for attacking the backfield. I can see Rivera and McDermoot drawing up a few blitz packages for him.

As for safety, I really like Godfrey. Martin had a horrible year last year, but his first two years showed promise. Maybe Nakamura will take the job. To be honest, it's really hard to judge the defense we had last year, with all the injuries. Godfrey had one concussion, Martin had two, and Pugh seemed to get one every other game. I won't even start with the LBs. Let's see what happens this year with a full offseason, and hopefully the defense can stay relatively healthy.

Posted by: Andy | May 10, 2012 10:39:39 PM

I don't agree with your assessment of his safety skills in his rookie year. I remember one game against the saints where he was badly beaten in coverage on more than one occasion. If his legs can't handle covering tight ends then how do you think they can respond to back pedaling into deep coverage to help over top in cover 2 or coming out of the defensive backfield to help with run support. His best move is try to come back at LB. With the signing of Keuchly, they bought him more time to recover. Totally agree with the assessment of Sherrod Martin. He was terrible last year in coverage and run support. Maybe he'll be better but let's hope their's def backfield help on the waiver wire or via trade this summer.

Posted by: Dan | May 10, 2012 10:42:11 PM

Points taken, I still like the idea of keeping all the playmakers on the field. And I still feel like he has a little more playmaking in him, providing his legs hold up.

Posted by: Chuck | May 10, 2012 10:50:05 PM

Andy is exactly right. Use TD sparingly and only if you are sure his knee can take the limited action. I foresee the Panthers letting him sit most if not all of training camp and bringing back as a situational rusher later in the season. No need to cut him because he restructured his deal. If you need a body at that position to back up, I think (not sure) we still have Senn who played well last year or sign someone off the street until TD can step in 100% full time.

Posted by: Dan | May 10, 2012 10:58:40 PM

Switch to a 3/4 and you can have all of the play makers on the field. Remember I said this cause it's gonna happen!

Posted by: ConanCat | May 10, 2012 11:17:49 PM

Trade J Stew for a DE or DT

Posted by: darren | May 10, 2012 11:21:53 PM

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