Thomas Davis, Panthers reach two-year extension

Shortly after making Cam Newtonone of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league, the Carolina Panthers have rewarded linebacker Thomas Davis with a new contract.

The Panthers announced Monday that they have signed Davis to a two-year extension. Davis will now collect $17.75 million over the next three years including a $9 million signing bonus, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. 

"Thomas has been and continues to be an integral part of our team on the field and off the field," general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement released by the team. "His leadership is valuable and he is still playing at a high level. We're thrilled we could get this done. He's a lynchpin in our defense and we're excited that he's going to have the ability to retire as a Panther."

Davis, 32, has recovered from a trio of ACL surgeries to emerge as one of the NFL's premier 4-3 linebackers. He has excelled in coverage while teaming with All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly to offer a clinic on closing speed near the line of the scrimmage.

He is long overdue for a Pro Bowl nod in recognition of that excellence.

The Davis-Kuechly duo forms the backbone of a defense that ranked second in the league 2013 and held opponents to 10.8 points per game in December of last season.

It's no surprise that Davis' new deal will allow him to finish his career in the same uniform he has worn for a decade.

Back in January of 2014, Davis revealed to NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala that the Panthers' faith in him after years of knee troubles was "motivation enough" to turn his stalled career around.

"The fact that they were willing to stick by me," Davis added, "that speaks volumes for this organization."

Davis' comments and the new contract reflect a refreshingly symbiotic relationship between player and team.

"He's a unique individual," coach Ron Rivera said Monday, "and there really is only one Thomas Davis."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Dez Bryant's contract situation and ranks the best backfields for the 2015 season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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