The Panthers have expressed interest in inking left tackle Michael Oher to a multi-year deal, sources tell Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer. There’s no word on how far along discussions are — or, in fact, if talks have even officially begun — but Carolina is apparently intrigued by the idea of extending Oher before he reaches free agency next spring.
Carolina has already extended one offensive lineman this week, agreeing to a deal yesterday that will keep center Ryan Kalil with the club through the 2018 season. As Jones details, the Kalil extension, and the reported interest in a pact with Oher, is an indication that general manager Dave Gettleman & Co. are intent on spending some of the money saved when the Panthers rescinded the $13.952MM franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman.
Oher, for his part, had an excellent campaign in his first year with Carolina, rebounding from a down 2014 with the Titans to grade as a top-30 offensive tackle, according to Pro Football Focus. Helping block for one of the best running games in the league (as well as protect league MVP Cam Newton), Oher was a key factor in the Panthers ranking 12th in adjusted line yards, up from 21st in 2014.
Having recently hired Drew Rosenhaus for representation, Oher is clearly interested in a new deal. “It would show that the organization believes in me,” Oher said of what a new deal would mean. “I still have to prove myself. I’m still just trying to prove myself to them and just make sure I’m one of these guys because they do it right.” Scheduled to count for $4.5MM on Carolina’s cap in 2016, Oher would be in line for a healthy raise if he and his team are able to hammer out a deal with the Panthers.
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