The Panthers announced Tuesday that they have officially exercised the fifth-year option on DT Star Lotulelei.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, seeing as Panthers GM Dave Gettleman told reporters that they planned to exercise the option back at the NFL owners meetings.
“Star has not disappointed by any stretch of the imagination, and he’s getting better,” Gettleman said. “He’s earned this. I’m excited we’re going to have him around for two more years.”
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.