Ryan Kalil

Ryan Kalil To Retire After 2018 Season

Ryan Kalil‘s 12th NFL season will be his last. The decorated Panthers center informed the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person that this upcoming campaign will mark the conclusion to his NFL career.

A two-time first-team All-Pro performer, Kalil was limited to just six regular-season games in 2017 by a neck injury. He said the Panthers’ medical staff and a specialist he saw after the season cleared him to return to action, so the Panthers can pencil him back into their starting lineup.

That hasn’t been a surefire proposition, with the former USC standout playing just 14 games over the past two seasons. Prior to that, he’d suited up for at least 15 contests six times in a seven-year span — with five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro distinctions having occurred during that time.

Ryan and Matt Kalil will play a second season alongside one another, per Person, and the elder Kalil will have an offseason to prepare after being limited in 2017 because of a shoulder surgery.

I’m excited about is to actually have an offseason to train because I haven’t had that. I didn’t get that last year and I think that’s part of what contributed to my injury this last season,” said Ryan Kalil, who will turn 33 in March. “I didn’t get to start training until right around training camp, like actually football training. I just felt way behind and I didn’t feel as physically ready for the season as I would have liked to have been.”

The Panthers drafted Kalil in the second round in 2012, and he’s been one of the best players in team history. Kalil served as the pivotman during the Panthers’ Super Bowl 50 run and played every game of the Panthers’ 2008, ’13 and ’14 playoff seasons. He will earn $4.5MM in base salary next season and take up $9.575MM of Carolina’s cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ryan Kalil Planning To Play In 2017

Longtime Panthers center and two-time First Team All-Pro Ryan Kalil said he plans to play at some point in 2017, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writesRyan Kalil (vertical)

Kalil, who suffered a neck injury in Week 2 that he called “pretty serious,” has played just five quarters all season. He made a return to the field in Week 7 but had to leave in the first quarter after aggravating the injury. He was active in Week 12 vs. the Jets in the case of an emergency and has been a limited participant at practice this week.

The 11-year center said he thinks the Panthers expects him to make a return sooner rather than later. “I don’t think they’d let me take up a roster spot if they didn’t think I would be able to,” he said.

Despite being without their mainstay in the middle, Carolina has still rushed for the fifth-most yards through Week 12 and are atop the NFC South with an 8-3 mark. Kalil’s return, however, could clear more running lanes for Christian McCaffrey and Jonathan Stewart. Second-year center Tyler Larsen has manned Kalil’s position in his absence.

Kalil also noted he plans to play beyond this season. He is signed through 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Rumors: Davis, Olsen, Kuechly

Thomas Davis provided some clarification about his health this week, making a slight correction to his wife’s assessment of an injury with which he’s dealing. During a TV interview, Kelly Davis said her husband was broken “completely broken ribs” for several weeks. The longest-tenured Panthers player said (via David Newton of ESPN.com) his wife didn’t lie and he is dealing with a broken bone in that area, but only one rib is affected. The 13th-year linebacker added the injury has healed to the point he doesn’t have to treat it any further. The Panthers called Kelly Davis’ comments “heartfelt” but “overstated,” noting Thomas Davis did appear on the team’s injury report for multiple weeks due to a rib ailment. Having started each of Carolina’s seven games this season, the linebacker is not in danger of missing Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.

Here’s the latest out of Charlotte.

  • Greg Olsen says he’ll test his surgically repaired foot on the field next week, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. That’s when Olsen will first become eligible to resume practicing after going on IR in Week 3. If he’s healthy enough, Olsen could suit up again in mid-November. League rules dictate that players can return from IR after spending eight weeks on the list.
  • Ryan Kalil has played in just two of Carolina’s seven games this season and is unlikely to see action Sunday, although Ron Rivera said the longtime center could play in an emergency situation. Kalil’s dealing with a neck injury, one he aggravated in Week 7 after returning to the lineup. Rivera said (via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, on Twitter) the Panthers are not ready to discuss an IR move for the 11th-year snapper. Tyler Larsen has started in Kalil’s place.
  • Luke Kuechly is in the final stage of concussion protocol, needing to be cleared by an independent doctor in order to play this week. The All-Pro middle linebacker practiced fully all week, per Newton, and is just more than two weeks removed from the latest concussion he suffered. Signs point to Kuechly playing against the Bucs. Should Kuechly return after missing just one game, it will mark his shortest concussion-induced absence as an NFLer. He missed three games in 2015 and six last season because of head injuries.
  • Rivera added the Panthers will get Kurt Coleman back after three missed games. The safety missed time because of a knee injury.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Panthers Place Ryan Kalil, Gino Gradkowski On IR

The Panthers announced that they have placed centers Ryan Kalil and Gino Gradkowski on injured reserve. Kalil is being shut down because of a shoulder issue while Gradkowski is being shut down with a knee injury. Ryan Kalil (vertical)

Kalil, a five-time Pro Bowler, was forced to exit the Week 11 game against the Saints. Since then, the team left him home for West Coast games against the Raiders and Seahawks. After thorough evaluation, the Panthers have decided that he will not be able to play again this year. Kalil is tied with the Saints’ Max Unger as the 15th best center in the NFL, according to the advanced numbers at Pro Football Focus. Kalil’s overall grade puts him ahead of notables like Maurkice Pouncey, Nick Mangold, and Ryan Kelly.

Gradkowski, Kalil’s understudy, was forced to leave Sunday’s loss to the Raiders with his own knee injury. Tyler Larsen took over at center when Gradkowski went down and he may continue in that role for the rest of the season.

To fill the two spots on the active roster, the Panthers signed center Ryan Wendell and offensive tackle Dan France, France could see significant playing time this week after right tackle Daryl Williams‘ recent ankle injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Vikings, Smith, Panthers, Short

Harrison Smith got a big deal with the Vikings on Monday in part due to his agent’s familiarity with the Minnesota brass, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com writes. The agent likened his relationship with the Vikings to the give-and-take of marriage.

When you first do a negotiation with a new person, you’re very careful in everything you say. You don’t give up an inch until you know you can get an inch back. It’d be like in marriage, you don’t say you’re going to take out the trash on Thursdays unless you know they’ll load the dishwasher on Fridays,” Brian Murphy said. “As you negotiate more and more deals, my whole philosophy is, there’s no room for bluffing. There’s certainly no room for lying. … I think that (Vikings VP of football operations) Rob [Brzezinski] is very, very good in that, in terms of saying what he means. And we say what we mean. But it takes a couple negotiations to realize, ‘Hey, when he said this, he really does mean this.'”

Murphy also represents John Sullivan, who has done two deals beyond his rookie contract. Kyle Rudolph, who signed a five-year deal in 2014, is also a Murphy client, as is Everson Griffen, who got $42.5MM over five years from Minnesota after the 2013 season. 2014 first-round pick Trae Waynes is also repped by Murphy and he could be the latest to add to the ~$180MM worth of deals that GM Rick Speilman has inked with Murphy guys.

Right now, it seems to be a happy marriage between the safety and the Vikings. Smith will earn more per year than any other safety in the NFL while the Vikings have the star locked down for years to come.

Here’s more out of the NFC:

  • Panthers coach Ron Rivera has repeatedly said that he wasn’t concerned by the absence of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short during OTAs, but David Newton of ESPN.com is confident that both he and GM Dave Gettleman are irked by it. “The thing I appreciate, for most part, everybody has told me what’s been going on with the exception of one person,” said Rivera, who was very possibly referring to the defensive tackle. Short’s 11 sacks last season were tied for the most by anyone at his position. He is currently scheduled to count for just $1.473MM against the 2016 cap.
  • Ryan Kalil‘s extension with the Panthers calls for him to make $13.25MM in 2016 instead of the originally planned $7.75MM, but he’ll make just $3.75MM in ’17, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. That affordable salary pretty much secures his ’17 roster spot, he adds. Following the extension, Kalil’s cap numbers are as follows (Twitter link via Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer): $11.83MM in 2016, $5.33MM in 2017, and $5.78MM in 2018.
  • If former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh got his way, the 49ers would have drafted Julio Jones, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. Recently, Harbaugh (now the coach at Michigan), caused a stir when he was spotted wearing a Jones jersey at a satellite camp. “I’ve always had a ton of respect for Julio Jones,” Harbaugh said in this video on Scout.com. “When I was with the San Francisco 49ers, we were hoping to draft Julio. Always have had tremendous respect for him, competed against him. … I’m just a big fan of a lot of pe0ple. And I’m a jersey guy. I like jerseys.”

Panthers Sign Ryan Kalil To Extension

12:55pm: The two-year deal is worth $16.75MM, effectively $13MM guaranteed, Rand Getlin of NFL.com tweets.

12:42pm: The Panthers announced that they have inked center Ryan Kalil to a two-year extension. The deal will keep Kalil in Carolina through the 2018 season. Exact terms of the deal are not yet known.Ryan Kalil (vertical)

[RELATED: Kawann Short Skipping Panthers OTAs]

Kalil, 31, earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection and his second career First-Team All-Pro nod in 2015. With (effectively) one year to go on his deal, Kalil was in great position to work out a brand new contract with the team.

Regarded as one of the top centers in the league, Kalil signed a six-year, $49MM+ contract extension with the Panthers in August 2011. The monster deal included $19MM in total guarantees and it will be interesting to see what the numbers on this latest deal are. Before starting his new deal, Kalil will earn a base salary of $7.5MM in 2016.

In 2015, the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked Kalil as the 12th best center in the NFL, just head of Falcons center Alex Mack and Saints center Max Unger. Kalil’s overall score of 76.6 accounted for his strong 84.0 run block grade and his less impressive 57.6 mark for pass blocking.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Clowney, Mathieu, Slay, Carrington, Kalil, Turner

  • Texans No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who was bothered by a groin injury, underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia, relays Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. Clowney is expected to be ready for training camp.
  • The Cardinals are taking a patient approach with defensive back Tyran Mathieu and nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, both of whom are recovering from torn ACL injuries, writes NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus“I had Oct. 1, or after the (bye week) as the target date for me personally,” says head coach Bruce Arians. “If they do something better than that, God bless ’em.” The Cardinals’ bye comes in Week 4 before a road game at Denver.
  • Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp says the Lions were wise not to “cave to public pressure” and reach for a cornerback in the first round because he expects 2013 second-rounder Darius Slay to make strides in year two. That said, in light of Chris Houston‘s release, Sharp says Slay must be the Lions’ most improved defensive player in 2014. Meanwhile, in a rundown of the team’s cornerbacks, Sharp’s colleague Dave Birkett calls Slay a work in progress, “But he’s long and athletic and after struggling with zone concepts will be a better fit in Teryl Austin’s new defense.”
  • Could Alex Carrington be an under-the-radar steal for the Rams? St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Joe Lyons says, the 26-year-old, 6-5, 300-pound defensive lineman “seemed to be on the verge of a breakout season with the Buffalo Bills last year when a torn quadriceps tendon ended his campaign after just three games.” In fact, entering last season, Carrington was viewed by Pro Football Focus as a “secret superstar,” calling him “one of the league’s most promising young pass-rushing DTs.”
  • A right knee injury was to blame for Vikings tackle Matt Kalil‘s sophomore dropoff, writes Chris Tomasson in the Pioneer Press.
  • “Other than being 20, there’s not much negative you can say” about Panthers third-round guard Trai Turner, says ESPN’s David Newton.
  • The contracts of the NFL’s highest-paid centers – Maurkice Pouncey, Alex Mack and Ryan Kalil – were examined by OverTheCap.com’s Jason Fitzgerald, who says annual value can be misleading.

Ryan Kalil, Jonathan Stewart Restructure Contracts

As we found out earlier today, the Panthers restructured the contract of linebacker Thomas Davis, but that doesn’t appear to be the last of their moves. The team had also restructured the contracts of center Ryan Kalil and running back Jonathan Stewart, reports Brian McIntyre (both reports via Twitter).

As McIntyre points out, Kalil, a seven-year veteran, had his salary reduced from $4.75MM to $855K, with the rest being converted to his signing bonus. Kalil’s cap number was previously worth $10.4MM, McIntyre tweets, and the reduction to a $7.28MM hit will save the Panthers more than $3MM next season. Kalil is a four-time Pro Bowler.

Stewart’s $1.5MM salary has been reduced to $785K, with the remainder being added into the player’s signing bonus. The new value of the signing bonus is $7.5MM, tweets McIntyre, which will be prorated over five seasons. This lowers Stewart’s 2014 cap hit by just under $1MM.

Panthers Pick Up Options On Davis, Restructure Deal

MONDAY, 1:47pm: In addition to picking up their two option years on Davis, the Panthers also restructured his contract, creating additional flexibility for the 2014 season, reports Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. By agreeing to a $5MM signing bonus and tacking three voidable years onto Davis’ deal, the Panthers will reduce Davis’ cap number by $3.25MM for the 2014 season.

The Panthers are also hoping to restructure other contracts to create more cap savings, according to Person, who identifies defensive end Charles Johnson and center Ryan Kalil as potential candidates.

FRIDAY, 3:21pm: The Panthers have exercised their 2014 and 2015 years on Thomas Davis‘ contract, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. The longtime Carolina linebacker will earn $13.5MM over the next two seasons.

After three ACL tears sidelined Davis for all but nine regular-season games from 2009 to 2011, the former first-round pick has come back to start 28 contests in the last two seasons for the Panthers. Davis had perhaps his best season as a pro in 2013, racking up 123 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions, while ranking as the third-best 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Davis will be in line for a base salary of $2.75MM in 2014 and $7.25MM in 2015, with various bonuses adding a few more million dollars to his total earnings.