Panthers, LB Luke Kuechly Restructure Contract

The Panthers have converted $9.05MM of star linebacker Luke Kuechly‘s 2019 salary into a bonus, per ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The move will create an additional $7.24MM of cap space, which is quite significant given that Carolina was only operating with about $1.34MM in cap room prior to the restructure.

This marks the second year in a row that the Panthers have given Kuechly cash upfront in order to create cap space, which can be a dangerous strategy. But Kuechly, who will turn 28 in two days, remains one of the best linebackers in the league and is coming off his fifth First Team All-Pro bid. Considering his importance to the team both now and for the foreseeable future, these reworkings are likely not too difficult for Carolina to stomach.

The team now has some much-needed flexibility heading into next week’s draft, and their newfound cap space will allow the Panthers to re-enter the free agent market should they be unable to fill their remaining needs with collegiate prospects. Plus, their release of Matt Kalil earlier this offseason will add another $7.25MM to their coffers once the calendar flips to June 1.

Kuechly is under contract through 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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3 comments on “Panthers, LB Luke Kuechly Restructure Contract

  1. snotrocket

    If teams can just retroactively do this, why don’t they just bonus like 99% of the contract value and pay 1000 bucks a year.

    • vegasloveforthebills

      Because it can hurt in the final years of the deal. Converting the bonus now, pushes the cap hit down the road. In the final year, he is owed 10 million but his cap hit is 14 million so there is no relief to release him early. They would lose cap space to do so.

  2. Dkaner

    The NFL has the most ridiculous salary, bonus,cap, system among all the leagues. When you need a team of people working in upper management just to figure out how to create more cap space, you know that the system is FUBAR!

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