The Panthers made their big splash early this summer, signing franchise QB Cam Newton to a 5 year $103.8 million extension through the 2020 season. The next player in Carolina due for a payday is likely the captain of the defense in inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. Kuechly's been a consumate professional since the day he was taken #9 overall back in 2012, and his leadership abilities and production on the field has been second to none.
At just 24 years old, Kuechly is much younger than the majority of extension candidates that come through our system, so the chance for a blockbuster long-term extension here is likely. We'll compare statistical production over the past few seasons to a group of other ILBs who signed extensions at a similar age with their respective teams to produce a value forecast for what his forthcoming contract might look like.
|Player||Length||Value||Avg. Salary||Guaranteed||Age When Signed|
Related: View the list of Top Average Inside Linebackers in the NFL
|Length||Value||Avg. Salary (slope)|
|Brian Cushing (2012-13, HOU)||6||.083||92.3||.125||4.83||5.16|
|Sean Lee (2012-13, DAL)||8.5||.29||76.75||0||6.11||3.94|
|Lawrence Timmons (2009-10, PIT)||15||.0625||72.85||.2||6.2||3.8|
|Navorro Bowman (2010-11, SF)||16||0||71.8||.13||7.1||4.3|
|Luke Kuechly (2013-14, CAR)||16||.3125||75||.156||6.34||4.4|
|MEDIAN PRIME PERCENTAGE:||21.00%|
|Average PRIME PErcentage:||50.93%|
Length of the Contract
Inside linebackers have been garnering longer contracts than most positions over the past few seasons, and at just 24 years of age, Kuechly should follow suit here. We'll assess this forecast as a 6 year contract, including 5 years added on to his $11.058 million 5th year option for 2016.
Value of the Contract
Our base contract outputted a value just north of $50 million over 6 years, or $8.3M per season, 5th most among active inside linebackers. When factoring in his impressive prime percentages based on statistical production this figure increases to a figure he's likely much more pleased with.
Low Value (HOMETOWN DISCOUNT)
Utilizing our Median Prime Percentage (21.00%), we're forecasting Kuechly as the 2nd highest average paid ILB:
6 years, $60,868,750 | $10,144,790 per year | $24,350,000 guaranteed
High Value (MAX-VALUE DEAL)
Utilizing our Average Prime Percentage (50.93%), we're forecasting Kuechly as the 2nd highest average paid ILB:
6 years, $76,000,000 | $12,666,666 per year | $30,400,000 guaranteed
We'll split the difference to offer the best-value forecast for Kuechly's next contract: