Panthers sign DE Mario Addison to three-year contract

Mario Addison

The Carolina Panthers made a huge announcement Sunday that they had come to terms on a three-year deal to keep defensive end Mario Addison from hitting free agency.

Addison is a rising star and led the Panthers with 9.5 sacks last year. He’s a player we highlighted as an underrated free agent set to make some big money this offseason.

Clearly, the Panthers saw his value and rewarded him.

“Mario has shown he is one of the best emerging pass rushers in the league and he deserves this contract,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “He consistently affects the quarterback, and we envision an increased role for him in our defense. He’s a pro in the way he approaches the game and brings an upbeat attitude to our locker room. We’re thrilled he will continue his career with the Panthers.”

The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed, though Ian Rapoport of NFL Media later reported the three-year deal is worth $22.5 million.

Carolina still has some work left to do in order to keep another big-time free agent from bolting. Kawann Short is one of the game’s best interior linemen and has done plenty to earn a big contract. The Panthers might have to slap him with the franchise tag to avoid letting him hit the market.

Back to Addison, this move by Carolina to lock up Addison suggests the franchise views him as a player who will end up as an every-down starter. It’s been a long time coming for this six-year veteran who originally entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie out of Troy.