Panthers give Gross six-year deal

With one signing, Carolina retained offensive tackle Jordan Gross and kept control of defensive end Julius Peppers.

Carolina and Gross reached agreement Thursday on a record six-year contract that will pay out $30.5 million in the first three years of the deal, a league source said.

The $30.5 million over the deal’s first three years is highest ever for an offensive lineman.

Now Gross is tied to Carolina and the Panthers now can designate Peppers as their franchise player, a move that will allow them to seek a trade. But Gross was the first piece of the puzzle.

After progress was made this week, the Panthers and Gross finalized the deal Thursday. Carolina took the top offensive tackle off the free-agent market and saved its franchise tag, all at the same time.

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