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Panthers extend defensive tackle Derrick Brown

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CHARLOTTE — The Panthers made one of the most significant moves of the offseason, and they did it with one of their own. 

The team has agreed to terms with defensive tackle Derrick Brown on a multi-year contract extension Friday, which will keep the foundation of their defense in place after his best individual season. 

Brown was entering the final year of his rookie deal, and the extension allows them to start the offseason program next week on the right note.

The deal came after a brilliant 2023 season in which he made his first Pro Bowl.

Brown set a league record for tackles by a defensive lineman with 103. Since they started tracking that stat in 1994, the 98 Miami's Christian Wilkins posted in 2022 was the highest total ever. That came after Brown tied the Panthers franchise record with 67 last year (when he joined Mike Rucker's mark from 2002).

"He's had a heck of a year," defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero said of Brown's performance. "He's been so disruptive. I don't think it's arguably — I think he's been the best run defender in the NFL this year. He's done a heck of a job rushing the quarterback and creating pressures, the interception, the batted balls. There's been so much production. The leadership. He's been instrumental in everything that we've done."

The 2020 first-round pick also did while rarely coming off the field. He finished the year playing 940 snaps (89 percent of the team total), and only played fewer than 80 percent of the team's snaps in two games all season (both hot-weather games early in the season, at home against Minnesota, and at Miami). After the bye in Week 7, he played at least 85 percent of the snaps in every game, and played every snap in the December win against Atlanta.

"He plays hard," Evero said. "I mean, and I've said it before, but probably the most impressive thing that he does for a man that big, 340-plus pounds, to run down the field, play hard every down. He's making plays 40 yards down the field.

"He's really, he's a heck of a player. What you see in him is just continued growth and maturation and learning the NFL game, understanding, not only using his physical ability, but also all the nuances of the game that come with experience, and all of that is just playing out. . . . Even before I took this job, I knew what a player he was and his reputation in the league is a guy that is hard to block. That's been happening for a couple of years now."

Now, the Panthers will have him in the middle of their defense, and the middle of their personality, for years to come.

The Panthers' defensive lineman set a new NFL record for tackles made by a D-tackle in a single season with 103 stops in 2023. Take a look back at his milestone year.

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