The Panthers have created some cap space by once again restructuring the contract of defensive end Charles Johnson, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Person reports that the move creates $5.2MM in 2014 cap space for the team.
Johnson, 28, had been slated to earn a base salary of $8.75MM this season, but that figure has now been reduced to just $950K. The difference of $7.8MM has been converted to a signing bonus that will prorate over the final three years of the deal, for an average of $2.6MM per year.
While the restructure makes Johnson’s 2014 cap number – which dips from $16.42MM to $11.22MM – more palatable, it increases his cap hit for next year from $17.42MM to $20.02MM. It’s hard to imagine, given the cap constraints Carolina is already facing, that the team could keep Johnson at that figure, so another restructure or even a cut might be in the cards.
It’ll be an interesting situation to keep an eye on, since the Panthers will also have to make a decision on their other defensive end, Greg Hardy, who is playing the 2014 season under the franchise tag. Prior to the restructure of Johnson’s contract, he and Hardy had two of the top five largest 2014 cap hits in the NFL for defensive ends.