CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -The Carolina Panthers solidified two key positions Thursday by re-signing left tackle Travelle Wharton and strong safety Chris Harris.
Wharton, who was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the month, gets a six-year deal. With a year left on his contract, Harris singed a four-year extension that will keep him with the team through the 2012 season.
``This is the time of year when we're getting contracts done,'' general manager Marty Hurney said.
Wharton and right tackle Jordan Gross were two key priorities for the Panthers in the offseason. Gross is also scheduled to become a free agent, but the Panthers are expected to place the franchise tag on him if they can't agree to a deal by Feb. 21. That means Gross would return to the Panthers next season on a one-year, $7.455 million contract.
and quickly became the anchor at the safety position in his first season with the team.
``We decided to forgo free agency and stay there because he was real happy,'' said Albert Elias, Harris' agent. ``They made a fair offer.''
Elias said Harris' deal is for $13.3 million over the next five years, a total that includes some incentives. Harris will receive a $2 million signing bonus this year and a $1 million roster bonus in 2009.
Wharton started all 16 games at left tackle last season after missing all but one game of 2006 with a left knee injury. Wharton and Gross will play with at least one new teammate on the offensive line following the Panthers' release this week of left guard Mike Wahle.
Reserve defensive tackle Damione Lewis also signed a three-year contract Thursday. Lewis agreed to the deal over the weekend in what has already been a busy offseason for the Panthers, who are coming off consecutive non-winning seasons.
``There are lot of people we're still working on,'' Hurney said.
The Panthers were desperate for safety help during training camp last year when Nate Salley suffered a knee injury and veteran Mike Minter was contemplating retirement. Carolina acquired Harris from Chicago in exchange for a fifth-round pick, and Minter retired a few days later.
The 25-year-old Harris, who had fallen down the depth chart with the Bears, went on to have his best his best season as a pro.
Harris ranked second on the team with a career-high 102 tackles. He had three forced fumbles in two weeks late in the season, including stripping the ball from Seattle running back Shaun Alexander in Carolina's upset win over the Seahawks. He sat out the final game of the season with a neck injury, but has since recovered.
Elias said he first discussed a contract extension with Hurney after Carolina's loss to Atlanta on Nov. 11. Discussions heated up over the past few weeks.
``This gives him some security and lets him play for a team that he really loves,'' Elias said.
Harris, who played at little-known Louisiana-Monroe and was not invited to the NFL combine, was the Bears' sixth-round draft pick in 2005. He intercepted Peyton Manning in Chicago's loss to Indianapolis in the Super Bowl two seasons ago.

Recent NFL Discussions

sun night pro play on Sun, Dec 2016 by Timmy1961
2nd set proplays for sun 12/4 on Sun, Dec 2016 by Timmy1961
staying here nba plays on Sun, Dec 2016 by Timmy1961
Carolina Wise Guy NFL, NBA & CBB Late Picks 12/4 on Sun, Dec 2016 by CarolinaWiseGuy
2nd half plays on Sun, Dec 2016 by Michael Cash
Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Panthers vs. Seahawks Prediction Will the Seahawks rebound off their loss to the Bucs when they take on the Panthers tonight at 8:30PM ET for Sunday Night Football?
Thumbnail Redskins vs. Cardinals Prediction Will the Redskins pull off the upset today in Arizona or will the Cardinals snap out of their current funk with a victory?
Thumbnail Giants vs. Steelers Prediction Are the Giants a good bet to cover as an underdog today at the Steelers when the two teams clash at 4:25PM ET?
Thumbnail Bucs vs. Chargers Prediction Can the Bucs pull off another upset when they visit the Chargers today at 4:25PM ET, or is San Diego the safer bet?
Thumbnail Bills vs. Raiders Prediction Will the Bills pull off the upset today in Oakland when they visit the Raiders at 4:05PM ET?
More inNFL Articles  

NFL Team Pages