Forward To The Future 2018: Center

forwardtofuturec18

Ryan Kalil

The 32 year old five time Pro Bowl center is entering the final two years of his contract with the Panthers in 2017, and 2018. Kalil has been the linchpin to the offense for years, and one of the most reliable Panthers on the roster.

The Panthers spent free agency in 2017 to bring Ryan’s brother Matt to the team at left tackle. Reuniting the brothers in Charlotte for 2017, and possibly longer.

However in 2018 as Ryan enters the final year of his contract with the Panthers, GM Dave Gettleman will need to make some serious decisions on Ryan’s future with the team. The team will need to free up cap room for 2018.

Ryan’s $10.27 million cap hit may be one of the targeted contracts to free up this space. There are a couple of ways Gettleman can go about it.

  1. The Panthers could look to extend Ryan Kalil for one or two more seasons much like Olsen. This would allow Gettleman the chance to relieve some of the cap hit for 2018.
  2. The Panthers could cut Ryan Kalil, and draft a new center in 2018. This would save the Panthers $7.5 million on the cap in the 2018 off-season.

As stated in all my pieces prior to this one. The Panthers have to look to free up space not only for free agency but to retain Trai Turner, Thomas Davis, Greg Olsen, and either Andrew Norwell or Star Lotulelei.

Doing so may require turning their attention to larger contracts from vets that are towards the end of their careers on the roster.

If I was to guess right now I would believe option number one would be the most likely to happen if Ryan Kalil is targeted to free up space.

While I do believe they will be draft a center sometime in the next few drafts. As long as Ryan stays healthy, and productive in 2017, I see no reason not to keep him around for a few more seasons. That is if they’re able to do so without risking younger players due new deals.

The Panthers could let the contract play out and take the hit in 2018, but it could be at the risk of losing both Norwell, and Star mattering on other moves they make to try to free up space. Either way it appears a decision on Ryan Kalil’s future could be on the horizon.

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