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Cap-Challenged Carolina Panthers Restructure Contracts of Ryan Kalil, Jonathan Stewart

February 16th, 2013 at 6:15 AM
By Jesse Collin

For the Carolina Panthers, this young offseason has been all about the Benjamins.

Earlier this month, all the headlines were about how the proposed $144 million in stadium renovations were to be funded. Now that Charlotte and the Panthers have reached a tentative 15-year agreement to pay for the upgrades with a food and beverage tax increase, other inevitable financial issues have taken center stage.

Like the salary cap.

New general manager Dave Gettleman has his work cut out for him, as the Panthers are well over the projected salary cap for next season.  

The team started cutting costs by restructuring the contracts of two veterans, center Ryan Kalil and running back Jonathan Stewart.

Kalil, who missed the last 11 games of last season following a foot injury, had a restructuring clause written into the extension he received last season. It will free up $3.45 million in salary-cap space, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Stewart, who was inked to a five year, $36.5 million extension as part of the Marty Hurney signing spree last offseason, had his deal restructured for non-cap purposes. In fact, his new contract will actually raise his cap number by more than $200,000.

Stewart, along with DeAngelo Williams, who also signed a 5-year, $43 million extension last year, make up one of the NFL's most exorbitantly paid backfields.

However, the new terms of Stewart's deal convert option bonus money into a guaranteed base salary – a good sign for the 25-year-old's future in Panther blue and black. Meanwhile, the older Williams looks more likely to be a salary cap casualty.

If Williams is cut by the June 1 deadline, the team would split his $9.6 million in pro-rated bonus money over the next two years. That means $3.2 million would count against the cap this year (reducing the cap number by $5 million in 2013), while the other $6.4 million would count against the cap in 2014.

The Panthers are still about $10 million over the cap over the projected $121 million cap.

Gettleman's work is far from over.

Tags: Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Dave Gettleman, DeAngelo Williams, Football, Jonathan Stewart, NFL, Ryan Kalil

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