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Panthers pick up fifth-year option on Luke Kuechly

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Andrew Luck was one of the more obvious cases of a team picking up a fifth-year option.

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was another. And on Saturday, general manager Dave Gettleman and Co. made that one official, too.

Kuechly, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has been one of the league's best defensive players over the past three seasons and is well worth the $11.1 million he'll be guaranteed in 2016.

According to the Panthers, his 473 tackles in that time period are better than any other player.

Carolina has been fortunate to have the torch passed on from one great interior linebacker -- Jon Beason -- to another. Kuechly has yet to miss a start, which is rare for a player at his position.

Now, we'll wait for the next step and see how Gettleman handles the massive extension that is sure to follow.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast conducts a redraft of the 2014 NFL Draft before chatting about this year's event with Daniel Jeremiah. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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