Carolina’s elder statesman on defense is in search of a new contract.
Thomas Davis, the Panthers’ 34-year-old inside linebacker, is entering the final season of a two-year extension signed in 2015. The vet is owed a base salary of $3.25 million this season, but told WFNZ in Charlotte that he wants to renegotiate before training camp.
“That’s something all players in the last year of their deal, especially for guys who have put up the numbers I’ve put up and played the way I’ve played the last few years, you’d hope something get worked out,” Davis told the station. “We’e not actively talking now, but hopefully we can do something before training camp happens.”
One of the remaining vestiges from the pre-Cam years, Davis is a Panthers legend who has battled back from severe injuries (three ACL surgeries) and fought for recognition as a model of excellence and consistency. He has missed just one regular season game in the last four seasons and finally earned a first-team All-Pro selection in 2015. Paired with Luke Kuechly, Davis is a key part of one of the league’s greatest linebacking duos of all-time.
But the future comes for all us eventually, and it’s nigh for Davis. The Panthers said this offseason that they intend to limit Davis’ snaps in 2017, in part to give Shaq Thompson more run and also to lessen the load of the vet’s shoulders. (Davis replied to that decision with a pointed Instagram video of him lifting some serious weights; the caption read, “The way I see it this is another way to help extend my career. I might play till I’m 37.”)
To stave off extinction, and now earn a new deal, Davis must continue to do more than what is expected of a sideline-to-sideline linebacker of his age.
However, there’s no guarantee general manager Dave Gettleman will grant Davis his wish. In the past, Gettleman has let aging franchise favorites Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams walk to Super Bowl contenders in lieu of handing them big contracts. Will the same go for Davis? Check back in at the end of the month.