Mario Addison

Panthers, Mario Addison Adjust Contract

The Panthers have converted $2.5MM of defensive end Mario Addison‘s base salary into a signing bonus, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal will create $2MM in extra cap space for this season, giving the Panthers some wiggle room for the current year. 

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Before the adjustment, the Panthers had just $1.942MM in cap space this year. Only five teams in the NFL had less cash to work with than Carolina. Now, the Panthers have flexibility to add any impact veterans that may pop up on the open market between now and the end of the year.

Addison passed on free agency in 2017 to re-sign with the Panthers on a three-year, $22.5MM deal. He’ll be back next season with a cap number of $9.916MM.

Through eight games, Addison already has 7.5 sacks and 21 total tackles. The 31-year-old is tied for ninth league-wide in sacks and is on pace to top the career high of 11.0 sacks he set last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Re-Sign DE Mario Addison

The Panthers announced that they’ve re-signed defensive end Mario Addison to a three-year deal. Addison, 30, was scheduled to become a free agent next week, but is now locked up through the 2019 campaign at a total cost of $22.5MM, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Addison will receive $11.5MM in guaranteed money and earn $9.75MM in 2017, per Rapoport (on Twitter), while the total value of the pact could creep to $25.05MM.

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“Mario has shown he is one of the best emerging pass rushers in the league and he deserves this contract,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “He consistently affects the quarterback, and we envision an increased role for him in our defense. He’s a pro in the way he approaches the game and brings an upbeat attitude to our locker room. We’re thrilled he will continue his career with the Panthers.”

Addison led Carolina with 9.5 sacks in 2016 and graded as the No. 16 edge defender in the league, per Pro Football Focus, but did so while playing on fewer than 500 defensive snaps, an indication that he may not be capable of playing a full-time role. However, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera did refer to Addison as a “complete defensive end” at the end of last season, and he’s certainly a valuable defender as a rotational option.

PFR’s No. 14 free agent edge defender, Addison had indicated an interest in re-signing with the Panthers earlier this year. With Addison’s deal now complete, Carolina will now turn its attention to retaining other members of its defensive line, which led the NFL in sacks last season. Kawann Short, Charles Johnson, Wes Horton, and Kyle Love are all heading for the open market, and could become unrestricted free agents on March 9.

Addison’s new yearly average of $7.5MM represents a significant raise from the $1.28MM annual salary he earned under the terms of his previous extension with Carolina. Additionally, that $7.5MM figure makes Addison one of the NFL’s top 10 highest-paid 4-3 defensive ends, as he’s now just behind the Vikings’ Everson Griffen and the Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

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Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Chandler Jones
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Jabaal Sheard
  6. James Harrison
  7. John Simon
  8. DeMarcus Ware
  9. Lorenzo Alexander
  10. Andre Branch
  11. Julius Peppers
  12. Charles Johnson
  13. Datone Jones
  14. Mario Addison
  15. Dwight Freeney

The Cardinals have already made it abundantly clear that Chandler Jones will see the franchise tag this offseason, and Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul are also candidates to be tagged by the Chargers and Giants, respectively. If the latter two are able to hit the open market unfettered, however, they both figure to break the bank. Ingram, Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 edge defender, could be a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, while JPP will be looking for a long-term commitment after signing consecutive one-year deals.Chandler Jones (vertical)

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among the players with youth still on their side, Packers edge defenders Nick Perry and Datone Jones figure to interest different clubs, as Perry is a better match for a 3-4 defense while Jones needs to restart his career as a 4-3 defensive end. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. James Harrison and Charles Johnson, meanwhile, look like good bets to return to Steelers and Panthers, respectively, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Kawann Short
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Johnathan Hankins
  4. Brandon Williams
  5. Dontari Poe
  6. Chris Baker
  7. Bennie Logan
  8. Nick Fairley
  9. Alan Branch
  10. Jared Odrick
  11. Karl Klug
  12. Terrell McClain
  13. Lawrence Guy
  14. Earl Mitchell
  15. Stacy McGee

Unlike the edge defender market, the 2017 cadre of interior defensive lineman shouldn’t be overly affected by the franchise tender. Head coach Ron Rivera recently confessed the Panthers will “probably” have to use the tag on Kawann Short, but the rest of the defensive tackles listed here should be able to hit the open market. Of the remaining defenders, Campbell is the best overall player, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, he may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Earl Mitchell), and run stoppers (Karl Klug, Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Mario Addison Wants To Re-Sign With Panthers

Pending free agent defensive end Mario Addison would like to re-sign with the Panthers, according to David Newton of ESPN.com.Mario Addison (Vertical)

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The 29-year-old Addison led Carolina with 9.5 sacks in 2016 and graded as the No. 16 edge defender in the league, per Pro Football Focus, but played on fewer than 500 defensive snaps, an indication that he may not be capable of playing a full-time role. However, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera did refer to Addison as a “complete defensive end” at the end of last season, per Newton, and he’s certainly a valuable defender as a rotational option.

Addison isn’t the only Carolina defensive lineman scheduled to hit free agency in March, as Kawann Short, Charles Johnson, Wes Horton, and Kyle Love are all heading for the open market. As such, the pass rush could be an area of focus in the coming months, as I detailed while covering the Panthers’ top three offseason needs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Extend Chandler, Addison, Jones

THURSDAY, 11:32am: According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (via Twitter), Addison’s new deal is worth $3.205MM over the next three years, with $660K guaranteed, while Jones’ three-year value is $2.5MM, with $300K guaranteed. Both guarantees are in the form of signing bonuses (Twitter link).

WEDNESDAY, 1:23pm: The Panthers have signed three players to contract extensions, the team announced today in a press release. According to the club, offensive tackle Nate Chandler has inked a three-year extension, while defensive end Mario Addison and safety Colin Jones have each signed new two-year deals. All three players had been entering the final year of their respective contracts.

“You have to think long-term and be proactive,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “Around here we talk about earning the right, and these three young guys have earned the right to these contract extensions. We think all three are ascending as players. This gave us a chance to lock them up long-term.”

With Jordan Gross no longer in the picture at left tackle, Chandler could be competing this summer for the right to protect Cam Newton‘s blind side. The third-year player out of UCLA started eight regular-season contests and a playoff game at right guard for Carolina last season, and figures to see his fair share of playing time somewhere on the Panthers’ offensive line. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), Chandler’s three-year extension will be worth $7.95MM, with $1.87MM in guaranteed money.

As for the pair of players receiving two-year extensions, Addison is expected to head into the 2014 season as a reserve defensive end, after recording 2.5 sacks and 28 total quarterback pressures in 264 defensive snaps last season. Jones, meanwhile, didn’t see much action on defense in 2013, but he and Addison are key contributors on special teams — they each recorded nine tackles in kick and punt coverage last season.