Derrick Brown’s Contract Details: Panthers Give Pro Bowl DT Massive Extension

The Panthers handed DT Derrick Brown a new deal on Friday, locking up the former first-round pick for the long haul.

The Carolina Panthers have identified DT Derrick Brown as a franchise cornerstone. After trading pass rusher Brian Burns earlier this offseason, the Panthers’ new regime — led by first-year GM Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales — opted to lock down Brown on a long-term contract that makes him one of the NFL‘s highest-paid defensive tackles.

What Does Panthers DT Derrick Brown’s Extension Look Like?

Brown, 25, was entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2024. He was scheduled to play on his $11.665 million fifth-year option before reaching free agency next spring.

Instead, the Panthers and Brown agreed to a four-year, $96 million extension that includes $63.165 million in guarantees, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. He’s now under contract through the 2028 campaign.

Brown’s $24 million average annual value ties the New York Jets’ Quinnen Williams for the fifth-highest among defensive tackles. Chris Jones ($31.75 million), Christian Wilkins ($27.5 million), and Justin Madubuike ($24.5 million) — all of whom were free agents this offseason — are the only DTs ahead of Brown and Williams.

A spate of 2023 defensive tackle extensions set the stage for Brown’s new pact. Interior defenders like Williams, Jeffery Simmons, Daron Payne, and Dexter Lawrence received new deals that pushed the DT market to $22.5 million annually and beyond. Meanwhile, the ever-increasing NFL salary cap gave Brown plenty of negotiating leverage.

Of course, Brown’s on-field production was the driving force behind his extension.

Brown, the No. 7 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, has improved in every season of his career. He played the third-most snaps (938) among defensive tackles last year and was arguably as valuable as any interior defender in the league.

Brown set an NFL record for tackles by a defensive lineman (103) in 2023. He ranked first in ESPN’s run-stop win rate (47%) and posted more “stops” — tackles that result in negative EPA for the offense — than any DT last season, per PFF.

While he only posted two sacks in 2023, Brown developed in the pressure department, finishing 20th among defensive tackles in pass-rush win rate.

Brown was one of the few cornerstone assets remaining on Carolina’s roster, so Morgan and Canales couldn’t let him get away. The Panthers already traded Burns to the New York Giants in March in a deal that netted them a second-round pick, while veterans like LB Frankie Luvu and S Jeremy Chinn left in free agency.

Carolina wasn’t afraid to spend on its defense this spring. The Panthers added experienced players like EDGEs Jadeveon Clowney and DJ Wonnum, LB Josey Jewell, and DBs Dane Jackson and Jordan Fuller.

With those new additions surrounding a newly extended Brown, Carolina’s defense should improve after allowing the NFL’s fourth-most points in 2023.

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