APRIL 26, 9:24am: The Panthers have formally exercised Lotulelei’s fifth-year option for 2017, the team announced today via Panthers.com.
MARCH 23, 11:25am: Lotulelei’s fifth-year option will be worth $6.757MM, according to former agent Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (via Twitter).
MARCH 22, 2:18pm: The Panthers will exercise the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Star Lotulelei‘s contract, general manager Dave Gettleman confirmed today (Twitter link via David Newton of ESPN.com). The move will keep Lotulelei under contract with the Panthers through the 2017 season.
Lotulelei, the 14th overall pick in 2013, has been a full-time starter for the Panthers since joining the team three years ago. In 14 games in 2015, the 26-year-old recorded 22 tackles to go along with a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
While Lotulelei has been a solid addition to Carolina’s defensive line, he struggled last season, and PFR’s Dallas Robinson speculated in his Panthers offseason preview that the lingering effects of a foot injury may have hampered the Utah product to a certain extent. Although Dallas fully expected the team to pick up Lotulelei’s option, he noted that a potential extension may be put on the back-burner as Carolina prioritizes a new deal for another defensive lineman, Kawann Short.
The exact value of Lotulelei’s fifth-year option isn’t yet known. A year ago, the fifth-year option figure for defensive tackles was set at $6.146MM, but it will increase a little this time around.
In other Panthers news, Gettleman confirmed that the team still has interest in re-signing free agent defensive tackle Kyle Love, and remain in talks with him, tweets Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.