CHARLOTTE – Charles Johnson, a stalwart on the Panthers' defensive front for the last decade, has signed a two-year contract extension through the 2018 season.
Johnson has played all 11 of his NFL seasons with the Panthers and ranks second in franchise history with 67.5 sacks. He's been a team captain three consecutive seasons and four of the last five.
"I have two years to prove myself and ball out for the team that I love," Johnson said. "I'm going to give everything I've got. I love this group. I love the coaches. I love everybody up top. It's just loyalty at its finest."
Johnson is the third defensive end that could have become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year starts March 9 to re-sign with the team. Mario Addison, last year's sack leader, signed a three-year contract, and up-and-coming run stopper Wes Horton signed a two-year deal.
Johnson stayed in Carolina on a one-year deal last season after flirting with free agency and added four sacks to his career total. In 13 games (he missed three with hamstring and foot injuries), he led the team with 25 quarterback pressures in addition to his continued positive contributions against the run.
The 30-year old was selected by the Panthers in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia. A starter since 2010, Johnson has played in 131 games and collected 335 tackles and 20 forced fumbles, including a team-high three last season.
From 2010-14, Johnson paced the Panthers in sacks four times, totaling 52.5 sacks over the five-season stretch. He's the only player in franchise history to record nine or more sacks four consecutive seasons.
"It's great to have Charles back," head coach Ron Rivera said. "He has spent his entire career with the Panthers, has emerged as a leader for us in the last few years, and is a big part of the reason we've had the success we've had. We look forward to having Charles continue to be part of our team."
View photos of defensive end Charles Johnson during his ten seasons with the Panthers.