Panthers hope to avoid franchising offensive tackle Daryl Williams

Carolina Panthers

Daryl Williams may have a common name, but his game is anything but ordinary. That’s why the Panthers want to ink the right tackle to a new deal.

The Carolina Panthers elected to let Andrew Norwell walk in free agency this summer, but they don’t want to take another hit to the offensive line next year. That’s why the team’s front office is working hard to lock right tackle Daryl Williams up for the long haul.

The former fourth round pick has been an excellent find for the team. He’s been the team’s starter for the last two seasons and his salary of just under $2 million this season is a terrific bargain for the Panthers. Unfortunately for the team, 2018 represents the last year of his rookie contract.

That gives Marty Hurney and company two choices moving forward. Given the fact that they want to retain him, they will either need to sign him to a long-term deal or hit him with the franchise tag. The latter would be a particularly expensive proposition.

Tagging Williams would require the team to compensate him as an offensive linemen. In other words, Williams would be eligible to receive the same level of compensation as elite left tackles in the league. That would force Carolina to pay him over $14 million in 2019. Using the franchise tag would allow the team to retain flexibility, but they’d pay dearly for that privilege.

Signing him a long-term extension would save the team money and lock in cost certainty for the future. The team could likely get Williams to sign a four or five-year extension that would pay him between $10 and $12 million per season. That would give the tackle a mammoth raise, but it would still save the Panthers significant money compared to what he’d make via the franchise tag.

Signing Williams to a long-term deal would also give the Panthers the ability to use the franchise tag on someone else. Specifically, it would give the team protection against a breakout season from Devin Funchess. The physical receiver would have to take a massive step forward in 2018 to establish that sort of value, but stranger things have happened. As a member of Williams’ 2015 draft class, he’ll be looking for a new deal this offseason as well.

In the end, Daryl Williams has established himself as one of the best right tackles in the NFL. It’s only natural he be compensated as such. Look for the Panthers to keep him in Carolina for a long time via a new contract.

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