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2016 NFL Free Agency: Carolina Panthers exercise fifth-year option on DT Star Lotulelei

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The Panthers' 2013 first-round pick will be in Carolina for a minimum of two more years.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers have exercised the fifth-year option on DT Star Lotulelei, keeping him in Carolina for at least the next two seasons.

From Joe Person at the Charlotte Observer:

The Panthers have exercised their fifth-year option on Star Lotulelei, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013. Lotulelei, the former Utah standout, will make more than $6 million in 2017 under the option.

Kawann Short is next, and according to Person will be a priority now that Josh Norman has moved on in free agency. The Panthers don't have the ability to give Short a fifth-year option as he was a second round pick, so expect them to move quickly on locking him up long-term before other teams come knocking on his door.

We've always known that Gettleman prefers to build his team around the hog mollies, and now that plan is coming to fruition as he has two good ones on the defensive line with the funds available to make both of them Carolina Panthers for the foreseeable future.

What do you think of this news, Panthers fans? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments!