Although Jordan Gross is 32 years old and needed bone spurs cleaned out of his ankle this offseason, the Carolina Panthers starting left tackle is still one of the best tackles in the NFL. His leadership skills are also crucial on an offensive line that is quite young and quite uncertain at various spots.
The Panthers are in troubled financial times, and sacrifices have been made so far this offseason. One of those sacrifices was extremely difficult, and that was the Panthers decision to release Chris Gamble. The move saved a solid chunk of cash and brought the Panthers under the cap for the first time, but they also lost a shutdown corner.
While the Panthers aren’t going to lose Jordan Gross, the veteran offensive lineman is the one who will have to make the sacrifice for the betterment of the team. We’ve seen several players restructure their contracts this offseason, and that’s what the Panthers want Gross to do. But unlike most restructurings, the Panthers don’t simply want Gross to allocate his base salary towards bonus money; they want their star LT to take a pay cut.
The Charlotte Observer reported the news yesterday, and Joe Person noted that Gross’s cap hit next season is a whopping $11.7 million.
“The Panthers and I are trying to work out the best solution to help this team move forward,” Gross said.
Carolina is currently $4 million under the cap, but they could use the extra money that would come from shaving down Gross’s cap hit next season. The team has huge needs in the secondary, at defensive tackle, guard, and wide receiver. While the draft will take care of some of those needs (most likely DT with the selection of Sheldon Richardson of the Missouri Tigers), the Panthers will still need to sign free agents like former Chicago Bears CB D.J. Moore.
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