CHARLOTTE – Tight end Greg Olsen and the Panthers came to a contract compromise just before the start of the regular season.
"It's addressing a situation that warranted being addressed," interim general manager Marty Hurney said. "We look at all these cases individually, and we decided there was an opportunity to reach a win-win solution."
Olsen, who had been outspoken in his desire for a new deal, didn't get a new contract or an extension. It is still set to expire at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
But the Panthers have added incentives to his 2017 contract year, incentives that are capped at $2 million.
"It just shows when two sides are reasonable and act in good faith, there is always a fair resolution," Olsen said shortly before the preseason finale against Pittsburgh. "Obviously I am very thankful. The team didn't have to do this. They acknowledged there was something that could be done, it was just a matter of finding the correct format. I think that's what we've accomplished."
Categories for the incentives include postseason honors (Pro Bowl/All-Pro), receptions, yards per reception and receiving yards. Last year, Olsen famously became the first tight end in NFL history to record three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. If he reaches the 1,000-yard benchmark again, he'll earn $500,000. If he gets to 1,100 yards, that number jumps to $750,000 – the largest possible bonus outlined in the agreement.
"If I go out and produce at a high level like I have, then the compensation will match accordingly. If I don't, if I fall short, then the compensation will match accordingly," said Olsen, whose streak of 80 consecutive starts is third longest in franchise history. "My approach, with or without these incentives, is to go out every year and be very productive."