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Panthers will exercise 5th-year option on Star Lotulelei

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has consistently said he doesn't draft and develop quality players to let them leave for other teams.

The philosophy is why he franchise tagged corner Josh Norman. Now the GM is employing that philosophy with 2013 first-round pick Star Lotulelei.

Gettleman said Tuesday the team will exercise the fifth-year option on the defensive tackle, keeping him in Carolina for the next two seasons.

Lotulelei was selected No. 14 overall. The price of the fifth-year option for players selected after the 10th pick in the draft is the average of the third through 25th highest salaries at the position -- players in the top 10 have their salaries set by the average of the 10 highest paid players at the position.

In three years in Carolina, the interior lineman has been a stud run stuffer. Lotulelei playing next to star Kawann Short has given the Panthers one of the best interior combos in the NFL, helping keep blockers off linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. The duo has roundly justified Gettleman's back-to-back selections of interior lineman in 2013.

Gettleman will need to deal with Short's contract in the next 11 months, so stashing Lotulelei away for another year was an easy call.

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