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Taylor Moton, Panthers agree to terms on four-year, $71.25M extension ahead of deadline

As always, deadlines spur action in the NFL.

Just when it looked like the franchise tag deadline would pass without much action, the Panthers and offensive tackle Taylor Moton agreed to a big deal.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the RT and the Panthers agreed upon a new four-year, $71.25 million contract with $43 million guaranteed at signing, per a source informed of the situation. That is added to the franchise tag for a new five-year contract worth roughly $85 million (the tag is worth $13.8 million).

The team later confirmed the deal ahead of the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Among the crop of franchise-tagged players yet to sign an extension leading into Thursday -- the Buccaneers' Chris Godwin, the Jets' Marcus Maye, the Bears' Allan Robinson, the Jaguars' Cam Robinson, the Washington Football Team's Brandon Scherff and the Saints' Marcus Williams -- Moton was the only one to strike a new deal. He joins the Cowboys' Dak Prescott, the Broncos' Justin Simmons and the Giants' Leonard Williams, who previously got new deals after being tagged this year.

The $17 million-per-year average over five years places Moton third among all right tackles, trailing the Eagles' Lane Johnson ($18 million) and behind the Saints' Ryan Ramczyk ($19.2 million). The $43 million is the third-most guaranteed money for a right tackle and seventh-most among all tackles.

It's a massive deal for the Panthers' best offensive lineman and ensures the club won't have to worry about the position for years to come. It likely helped the 26-year-old that the Saints anted up for their young stud RT last month, forcing the Panthers to pay handsomely to keep the rock of their right side.

A second-round pick in 2017, Moton has developed each year and was the Panthers' most consistent offensive lineman last season. He also was the only tackle in the NFL with more than 450 pass protection snaps to not allow a single QB hit in 2020. In a draft-and-develop world, Moton is the type of young, still growing player teams shouldn't mind giving big second contracts to. One of the better RTs still has room to improve. The contract echoes the belief he'll keep growing into that paycheck.

For Carolina, ensuring Moton didn't hit the open market next offseason allows the club to focus on bolstering other spots, including finding a long-term answer at left tackle.

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