Panthers, Derrick Brown agree to 4-year, $96 million extension, per sources: Why it needed to get done

The Carolina Panthers and defensive tackle Derrick Brown have agreed to a multi-year extension, the team announced Friday. The extension is for four years and $96 million, including $63.2 million guaranteed, league sources confirmed to The Athletic.

Brown is coming off his first Pro Bowl season which saw him tally a career-high 103 total tackles. He also totaled two sacks, an interception and six passed defended in 2023.

The 25-year-old has spent all four of his NFL seasons with Carolina after the franchise selected him with the seventh pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Why it was important to get a deal done now

When the Panthers were talking to Chicago last spring about trading for the No. 1 pick, the Bears asked about three players — Brown, edge rusher Brian Burns and WR DJ Moore. The Panthers weren’t interested in dealing Brown or Burns, envisioning them as the mainstays of their defensive line. But after the former front office regime failed to get a long-term deal done with Burns, new GM Dan Morgan traded him to the Giants last month for a second-round pick, a future fifth and a pick swap. The Panthers couldn’t afford a repeat of the Burns situation with one of their home-grown, ascending players still in his prime. — Joe Person, Panthers writer

What it means for the Panthers’ defense

With Burns in New York and OLB Yetur Gross-Matos in San Francisco after leaving in free agency, the Panthers were forced to remake their defensive front on the fly. They added a big piece in veteran edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, who returned to the Carolinas on a two-year deal. The Panthers also signed DT A’Shawn Robinson and OLB D.J. Wonnum in free agency. But getting Brown locked up was huge for defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s 3-4 scheme.

Brown came into his own last season with 103 tackles, the most by a defensive lineman since the NFL began tracking the stat in 1994. Brown was unblockable at times and looked like the disruptive force who wreaked havoc on SEC backfields at Auburn. — Person

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