This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, seeing as Lotulelei has been a strong presence in the middle of their defense.
The fifth-year option will run them over $6 million in 2017, but is guaranteed only for injury and won’t prevent them from working on a long-term extension over the next year.
Lotulelei, 26, was taken with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. He’s currently in the final year of his four-year, $9.605 million contract and stands to make a base salary of $1,714,704 for the 2016 season.
In 2015, Lotulelei appeared in 14 games for the Panthers and recorded 22 tackles, one sack, a forced fumble, a recovery and two pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 88 interior defensive lineman out of 123 qualifying players.