In a second huge vote of confidence today the Carolina Panthers rewarded FS Charles Godfrey with a 5 year extension. The 6 year deal will play Godfrey a total of $28.7 million, with $12.4 million guaranteed. This follows the earlier move today that saw the 25 year old safety being named a team captain for the first time.
If you've followed the Panthers front office for sometime then this is the exact type of proactive, smart decision making we've been waiting for. Moves that will ensure the future of this team, rather than seeing more talented draft picks leaving when their rookie deals are up. Moreover, it will be curious to see when the details of the contract come out to see how the Panthers chose to structure the deal.
At times #30 can be a maddening player; one who will value the big hit over the smart play in the run game, however against the pass he was stellar in 2010. According to Football Outsiders he ranked 11th in the NFL in success rate of breaking up passes, this is among all safeties. When you couple this with his five opportunistic safeties it paints a picture where a Godfrey/Martin tandem will be defensive stalwarts for years to come.
Finally, as Darin Gantt points out the Panthers can basically wash their hands of worrying about their own free agents in 2012 as he gives us the following list:
Other than Geoff Schwartz there's very little true need on this list, and that should make for a much quieter 2012.