The Panthers have completed signing their 2016 draft class, announcing today that first-round defensive tackle Vernon Butler has officially put pen to paper on his rookie contract. Butler had been the last of Carolina’s five draftees to formally sign his new four-year deal.
Of course, unlike the rest of the Panthers’ draft picks, Butler’s four-year pact will include a fifth-year option for 2020. His deal will also be the richest of any of Carolina’s rookie contracts — per Over the Cap, it will be worth nearly $8.397MM, with a signing bonus of about $4.307MM and a first-year cap charge of approximately $1.527MM.
For the Panthers, Butler will add another imposing presence on the interior of a defensive line that already looks strong at that spot. The former Louisiana Tech lineman will join a rotation headed by Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei, with Paul Soliai and others also in the mix.
With their draft picks secured, the Panthers will be able to focus on other things during this weekend’s rookie minicamp. As David Newton of ESPN.com details, the club still has five openings on its 90-man roster, and with 35 tryout players in attendance at the minicamp, there’s a good chance that a handful of those players will earn contracts within the next few days.
This weekend also represents the first opportunity the Panthers will have to see if any of their young players are capable of handling some of the snaps that went to cornerback Josh Norman in 2015, Newton writes in a separate piece. Noting that GM Dave Gettleman used three of his five picks on corners, Newton examines that subplot, along with a few others to keep an eye on in Carolina.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.