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Panthers DT Derrick Brown agrees to four-year, $96M contract extension

It's been difficult for Derrick Brown to garner national attention while playing for the struggling Panthers, but that didn't prevent Carolina from rewarding its ascending star.

The former seventh-overall pick of the 2020 draft has agreed to terms with the Panthers on a four-year, $96 million extension with more than $63 million in guarantees, NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported on Friday.

The Panthers later officially announced a multi-year extension for Brown.

Despite Carolina's 2-15 finish in 2023, Brown earned his first Pro Bowl nod, putting together a stellar season that stretches beyond the traditional box score. He racked up 103 tackles (seven for loss), two sacks, and led all defensive tackles in run stops with 79, 10 more than the next closest defensive tackle, per Next Gen Stats. Brown mixed in 37 quarterback pressures despite facing double teams on 42 percent of snaps, and posted a stop expected points added (a per-play measurement of how his stops impacted opposing offenses' scoring) of -43.1, a top-six mark among all defensive tackles.

The Next Gen Stats listed above tell the true story of Brown's impact on a defense that often found itself tasked with attempting to keep the lowly Panthers competitive. Pro Football Focus backed up these totals, too, handing Brown the fourth-best defensive grade among all interior defenders in the NFL in 2023, acknowledging his entry into an elite group that included Aaron Donald, Quinnen Williams and Dexter Lawrence.

Those names garner immediate respect. Brown's name should be treated similarly in the years ahead. Carolina isn't waiting for the rest of the football world to realize Brown's effectiveness before signing him, though, handing the Auburn product a contract that aligns him with Williams in terms of compensation.

Consider it well-earned -- and a vote of confidence from a Panthers club attempting to rewrite its narrative under new general manager Dan Morgan.

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