Jan 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Derrick Brown (95) reacts in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers, DT Derrick Brown agree to reported 4-year, $96M contract

The Carolina Panthers and record-setting defensive tackle Derrick Brown agreed to a multi-year contract extension.

The team announced the extension on Friday but not the financial terms. Multiple reports put the value of the four-year deal at $96 million, with $63 million guaranteed.

Among interior defensive linemen, Brown’s annual average salary of $24 million trails that of only Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs, Christian Wilkins of the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Madubuke, per Spotrac.

Brown, who turns 26 later this month, set the NFL record last season for most tackles by a defensive lineman with 103. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl and Carolina’s new head coach, Dave Canales, retained defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Brown has appeared in 66 games (63 starts) over four seasons. He has tallied 245 tackles, 48 quarterback hits, eight sacks and two interceptions.

Brown will be counted on to lead the improvement on defense for the Panthers, who finished 2-15 last season.

The team begins its offseason program next week.

–Field Level Media

Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) is knocked down after passing the ball by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (24) in the AFC Championship football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers sign Pro Bowl OLB Jadeveon Clowney

The Carolina Panthers flew under the radar and signed free agent outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney on Wednesday.

The team did not disclose terms but ESPN and NFL Network reported it’s a two-year deal worth $20 million and up to $24 million with incentives. Clowney fills a big void for a Panthers club that traded Pro Bowl pass rusher Brian Burns to the New York Giants earlier this month and lost Yetur Gross-Matos in free agency.

The New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens were seen as the favorites to land Clowney, a three-time Pro Bowl pick.

Clowney, 31, racked up 9.5 sacks in 17 games (15 starts) last season for the Ravens. That matched his career high for sacks, accomplished in 2017.

The Panthers will be Clowney’s sixth team. He played his first five seasons with the Houston Texans, who selected him No. 1 overall in the 2014 draft.

He has 52.5 career sacks in 126 games (113 starts).

Clowney starred at South Carolina before embarking on his NFL career.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (45) yells during the team introduction before a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-7.

Report: Panthers signing edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson

The Carolina Panthers are signing former Jacksonville Jaguars edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson to a one-year, $5 million contract, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Chaisson, 24, is looking for a fresh start after spending four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville selected him with the 20th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft out of LSU.

He recorded 13 tackles and two sacks in 17 games off the bench last season. He totaled 73 tackles and five sacks in 57 career games (11 starts) with the Jaguars.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jamal Agnew (39) gets tackled by Carolina Panthers cornerback Shaquill Griffin (20) and safety Vonn Bell (24) on a first down pass play to the 5-yard line late in the second quarter. Agnew was injured at the end of the play. The Jacksonville Jaguars hosted the Carolina Panthers at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, FL Sunday, December 31, 2023. The Jaguars went in at the half with a 9 to 0 lead. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

S Vonn Bell returning to Bengals

Safety Vonn Bell is returning to the Cincinnati Bengals, agent David Canter announced Thursday.

NFL Network reported Bell will play on a one-year, guaranteed $6 million contract. The Bengals will pay the league minimum portion, with the rest paid by the Carolina Panthers, who released him on Monday to free salary cap space.

Selected by the Saints in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he spent his first four seasons with the Saints, then signed as a free agent with the Bengals before the 2020 season and was a team captain. The Panthers lured him in free agency last March with a three-year, $22.5 million deal.

Bell, 29, appeared in 13 games (all starts) with the Panthers in 2023. He had 69 tackles and one interception.

In 122 career games (106 starts), Bell has recorded 705 tackles, 27 quarterback hits, 9.5 sacks, seven interceptions, 37 passes broken up, 15 forced fumbles and 11 fumble recoveries.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

New Giant Brian Burns ready to shine under New York spotlight

Brian Burns said the lofty expectations that come with playing for the New York Giants won’t bother him.

That’s probably a good thing as the spotlight will be brighter on him than ever before.

“I feel like I can adapt anywhere,” Burns said Wednesday. “Coming from Florida, you get a little taste of everything. I feel like New York wouldn’t be too big for me.”

The the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end officially became a member of the Giants on Wednesday, two days after New York and the Carolina Panthers agreed on a trade.

Carolina receives a 2024 second-rounder and a 2025 fifth-rounder in the deal for Burns, who reportedly received a five-year deal worth $141 million with $87.5 million in guaranteed money.

Burns, who turns 26 next month, will be expected to make an impact on a franchise that has reached the playoffs just twice in the past 12 seasons.

Burns said he is exactly the type of player the Giants need.

“They’re getting somebody that’s coming to work, always be professional, always be a pro, that’s number one,” Burns said. “Other than that, I’m coming to work, I’m relentless. They’re getting a playmaker. They’re just getting a guy that’s really going to enjoy the process, take it day by day.

“I really take a lot of pride in getting better. I feel like I can learn from a lot of cats, especially on this team. Other than that, I’m a team guy, always been a team guy. I’m a natural leader. I’m just ready to get to work and ready to get with these guys.”

Burns recorded 46 sacks in 80 games (67 starts) in five seasons with the Panthers. He had 246 tackles, forced eight fumbles and returned one of his two fumble recoveries for a touchdown.

Last season, Burns had 50 tackles, eight sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 16 games with Carolina.

The Panthers tried to reach an agreement with Burns last year but discussions came up empty. Just last week, Carolina placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Burns, guaranteeing him a salary of $24 million in 2024.

But instead of continuing negotiations, Carolina agreed to the trade that sent Burns to the Giants.

“Right now, the moment is still a little surreal. It just got done not too long ago,” Burns said. “I’m kind of overtaken with a lot of emotions, but once I’m done processing — I’m super excited to be here.

‘Once I’m done processing, then everything will come back down, and I’ll really sit in fruition. Right now, I’m kind of all over the place, I’m just a little giddy.”

Burns was a first-round pick in 2019 out of Florida State.

–Field Level Media

Jan 15, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) runs the ball in the second half against the Buffalo Bills in a 2024 AFC wild card game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Steelers deal WR Diontae Johnson to Panthers

The Carolina Panthers acquired Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson on Tuesday in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson, multiple reports said.

The teams are also swapping late picks, with Carolina sending its sixth-rounder to Pittsburgh but receiving a seventh-rounder.

Johnson, 27, has started 67 of his 77 career games over five NFL seasons in Pittsburgh. In that time he has made 391 receptions for 4,363 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Johnson’s best season came in 2021, when he racked up 107 catches, 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns and earned a Pro Bowl selection.

He joins a Panthers team whose top target was 33-year-old slot receiver Adam Thielen, who is coming off a 1,000-yard year. The Panthers are entering Year 2 of quarterback Bryce Young’s career, with Dave Canales taking over as head coach.

Jackson, 28, spent his first six NFL campaigns in Carolina. He started 16 games last season, which was his first without at least one interception. He has 14 career interceptions and 46 pass breakups in 80 games (76 starts).

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Atlanta Falcons tight end Jonnu Smith (81) catches the ball as Carolina Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu (49) and safety Vonn Bell (24) defend in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Panthers release S Vonn Bell

Panthers safety Vonn Bell was released on Monday before he was due a $3 million roster bonus, according to multiple reports.

Releasing Bell creates $1.05 million under the salary cap for Carolina in 2024.

Bell spent just one season with the Panthers, who signed the former Bengals safety on the opening day of free agency last March.

Carolina confirmed another move Monday, re-signing long-snapper JJ Jansen to a one-year deal. Jansen, 38, owns the franchise record with 243 games played.

Bell, 29, missed four games last season after starting 48 the previous three seasons with the Bengals. He had never missed more than three games in a season due to injury before 2023.

Bell spent the first four seasons of his career with the Saints and has 705 tackles, 9.5 sacks and seven interceptions in 122 career games.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (0) during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers pass rusher Brian Burns headed for tag

Panthers pass rusher Brian Burns and Carolina are no closer to a long-term contract agreement, signaling the franchise tag is imminent ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

Teams can apply franchise and transition tags to restrict pending free agents from hitting the open market without refusal rights.

Multiple outlets reported the two sides are no closer to a contract with the NFL deadline for applying tags set for Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Burns has 46 career sacks, including 8.0 last season, but reportedly requested a contract starting point of $30 million per season.

First-year Panthers general manager Dan Morgan walked into a hornet’s nest with Burns and his agent, who had an acrimonious relationship with the previous regime. Burns considered a “hold-in” last summer, whereby he would sit out training camp workouts but report to the team in hopes of coaxing a deal out of then-GM Scott Fitterer.

Morgan, who was Fitterer’s right-hand man and a business ally dating to their time in the Seattle Seahawks’ scouting department, said at the NFL Scouting Combine last week that he was leaving all options open with Burns.

“We would definitely use it if we had to use it,” Morgan said of the franchise tag option. “We love Brian. Brian’s a Panther. Somebody that I know, that I’m close to. I played with his brother. So, definitely love Brian. But all options are on the table.”

Burns, 25, would be locked in at $24 million as a minimum salary for next season. He would be permitted to negotiate with other teams, unless the Panthers used the “exclusive” franchise tag to limit his options.

In the event another team makes an offer to Burns, Carolina could choose to match that offer or receive multiple first-round picks in return.

Carolina doesn’t have a pick in the first round of the draft despite a 2-15 record. The Panthers owed the No. 1 pick in the 2024 draft to the Chicago Bears as payment for a trade last March 10 to acquire the top pick in the 2023 draft used to select Bryce Young.

–Field Level Media

Carolina Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn (21) and defensive end Brian Burns (53) are priority free agents this offseason. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers offseason primer: Rebuilding around Bryce Young

Carolina Panthers
2023 record: 2-15
Projected salary cap space: $30.2 million

Offseason storylines: New coach. No first-round pick. Worst record in the NFL. Where do the Panthers go from here? There’s conceivably only one direction for Carolina under first-time head coach Dave Canales. To stoke greatness the franchise believes is within 2023 No. 1 pick Bryce Young, the Panthers are trying to make his life easier with explosive playmakers and a polished offensive line. How many of those boxes they can check this spring isn’t clear, but new GM Dan Morgan vows to be bold.

Team Needs: WR, DE, LB, CB, OL
Hats off to Adam Thielen for his 103-catch season in his Carolina debut. The Panthers had only 13 TD passes in 17 games and averaged 13.9 points per game. It’ll be a steep climb from here to becoming a potent offense. A lead receiver with big-play flair and improved offensive line play are necessary. Then there’s the matter of fixing the defense. Problem areas are plentiful. The Panthers allowed 25 rushing touchdowns and totaled 27 sacks.

Top free agent: OLB/DE Brian Burns — When talks crumbled around Burns’ request for $30 million per season last summer, the notion the two sides could ever find middle ground on a contract appeared to be a pipedream. Burns still wants the bag. But he might be more realistic about the total value after notching 8.0 sacks and fighting injuries in 2023. Burns and S Jeremy Chinn, another priority free agent, aren’t yet 26 years old.

Unrestricted free agents (as of March 11):
DE Henry Anderson
OLB Brian Burns
WR DJ Chark Jr.
S/LB Jeremy Chinn
S Sam Franklin Jr.
CB Shaquill Griffin
OLB Yetur Gross-Matos
ILB Kamu Grugler-Hill
OLB Marquis Haynes Sr.
CB C.J. Henderson
CB Troy Hill
RG Gabe Jackson
LS JJ Jansen
LB Deion Jones
ILB Frankie Luvu
G/C Justin McCray
K Eddy Pineiro
T David Sharpe
WR Laviska Shenault Jr.
LDE DeShawn Williams
DE Chris Wormley

–Field Level Media

Baltimore Ravens running back Mike Davis (28) carries the ball in the second quarter during an NFL Week 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Baltimore Ravens Oct 9 0176

Veteran RB Mike Davis retires

Mike Davis, who suited up as a running back for six teams across eight NFL seasons, announced his retirement on Monday.

Davis, who did not play in 2023, took to social media with a message of gratitude on his 31st birthday.

“As I turn 31 today, I sit back and look on my NFL career and how thankful I am to be apart of a brotherhood,” he wrote. “This game has allowed me to make a lot of friends and memories. I’m grateful for every organization in NFL. With that being said I’m retiring!”

Davis broke into the league as a fourth-round draft pick in 2015 by the San Francisco 49ers.

In 87 career games (30 starts) for the Niners (2015-16), Seattle Seahawks (2017-18), Chicago Bears (2019), Carolina Panthers (2019-20), Atlanta Falcons (2021) and Baltimore Ravens (2022), Davis amassed 2,052 yards on 3.7 yards per carry with 14 touchdowns. He also collected 171 receptions for 1,066 yards and four receiving touchdowns.

He started 12 games for the Panthers in 2020 (15 total appearances) and posted career bests of 642 rushing yards, six touchdowns, 59 catches, 373 yards and two touchdown receptions.

–Field Level Media