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Panthers' Star Lotulelei not worried about new deal

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney already has an uphill climb as he works his way back into Carolina's front office. Thankfully, he won't have to worry about one of his stars holding out for a new contract.

Former first-round pick Star Lotulelei told reporters this weekend that he wasn't worried about his current situation, meaning that he seems to be alright with playing out his fifth-year option.

"I try to not think about it too much," Lotulelei said, via the team's official site. "At the end of the day, that is a part of what we do -- the business side of things -- but I'm not really thinking about it too much. It's so early in the season. Right now I'm just trying to focus on getting better, improving and helping this defense get to where we need to be, get us to our goals this season."

No matter what the Panthers do at the general manager position after this season, their permanent selection is going to have his or her hands full. Lotulelei could be riding the wave of recent interior defensive linemen making big salaries in free agency. Tight end Greg Olsen is still seriously underpaid. Former general manager Dave Gettleman used to always joke about the team's maxed-out salary cap situation, saying that they were not equipped to shop at Tiffany's just yet.

With only four $10 million-plus contracts on the books for next year (Cam Newton, Kawann Short, Luke Kuechly and Ryan Kalil), it might be time to revisit the luxury department in order to keep their core together.

Gettleman will never get the credit he deserved for helping rebuild the talent base on this roster or for the way he created a firm negotiating line for the Panthers during some of their most tense contract disputes. But his successors will be measured by how well they can keep a beloved Super Bowl team together contractually.

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