Contract talks between Luke Kuechly and Panthers reportedly ‘heating up’

By Jesse Reed

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is due for a massive contract extension. And according to a report, it may happen before the start of the 2015 NFL season.

Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer reports that talks between the Panthers and linebacker Luke Kuechly are “heating up.”

Jones notes a couple things worth passing along as it pertains to this development.

First, Kuechly isn’t worried about getting the deal done, saying “it will happen when it happens.”

Secondly, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has a policy of not working on new contracts after the season starts, meaning the two sides have less than four weeks to hammer out the particulars of the extension before shelving talks until after the season.

After 2012 draft classmates Lavonte David and Bobby Wagner already locked up massive new deals with their respective teams, Kuechly should set a new benchmark for inside linebackers whenever he does sign his new deal with Carolina.

Following the surprise retirement of Patrick Willis, Kuechly has taken over as the undisputed top inside linebacker in the NFL. He has logged over 150 tackles the past two years, leading the league in 2014, and is one of the rare three-down linebackers who can literally do everything on the football field.

Carolina would be smart to lock up its star linebacker right now before his value increases even more following the 2015 season. With the salary cap continuing to rise, it would be foolish to allow him additional leverage next season as he approaches his contract year.