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Panthers Officially Exercise LB Luke Kuechly’s Fifth-Year Option

Update:

The Carolina Panthers announced Saturday that they have exercised LB Luke Kuechly fifth-year option in the coming months.

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To no surprise, Panthers GM Dave Gettleman told reporters on Tuesday that they will exercise LB Luke Kuechly fifth-year option in the coming months.

I’d have to be brain-dead not to,” Gettleman said, per Joe Person.

Because Kuechly was a top-10 pick back in 2012, his fifth-year option will be based on transition tender for his position, which would be the average salary for the top-10 inside linebackers last year.

It’s worth mentioning that this tender is guaranteed for injury only, and won’t prevent them from working out a long-term contract extension in the coming months.

Kuechly, 23, already has a Defensive Player of the Year award and is clearly in the discussion for being the best inside linebacker in the league.

Kuechly is entering the final year of his four-year, $12.58 million rookie contract and stands to make a base salary of $2,105,265 for the 2015 season.

In 2014, Kuechly recorded 153 tackles, three sacks, one interception, a forced fumble, a recovery and 11 pass defenses for the Panthers. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the N0. 1 inside linebacker out of 60 qualifying players.