Might the Panthers consider a similar raise for their own star tight end?
The $22.5 million extension signed in March of 2015 makes Olsen the league’s seventh-highest paid tight end at $7.5 million annually.
Asked Tuesday if he hopes the organization rewards him by restructuring his contract, Olsen pointed out that no tight end has been more productive over the past half-decade.
“In the ideal world, [a restructured contract] would be great,” Olsen said, via Person. “I’m very confident on where I stand in the league and where I belong. Both productivity and all things considered, there’s nobody that’s been more productive or more consistent than I have. And I’ll stand on that until the cows come home.
“You can make of that what you may. I feel comfortable with where I belong, and hopefully other people do, too.”
Olsen has been a picture of durability and productivity in Carolina. He hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year a decade ago. Better yet, he’s coming off a third consecutive season with 1,000 or more receiving yards — the only such three-year stretch by a tight end in NFL history.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera has attested that Olsen belongs “right at the top” among the best tight ends in the game.
“He’s done a great job since he’s been here. Every year he’s had a great year,” Rivera said. “We just expect him to continue to be that guy for us.”
As deserving of a raise as Olsen might be, NFL teams tend to pay players based on future expectations rather than past performance. With a contract that runs through his age-33 season, Olsen seems more likely to land a Gronkowski-like restructure with attainable incentives rather than a lucrative extension.