When Kurt Coleman showed up in Spartanburg last summer, he was fighting for a starting job with a contract that included only $600,000 in guarantees.
When Coleman shows up for the start of training camp on Wednesday, the secondary's new veteran leader will have a much better deal to sign.
According to a league source, Coleman and the Panthers on Tuesday agreed to a 3-year extension. The deal was first reported by NFL Media's Ian Rapoport. Financial terms aren't yet available.
After signing a 2-year contract worth just $2.8 million last spring, Coleman jumped past incumbent free safety starter Tre Boston in training camp. Coleman shattered a career record with seven interceptions and added two more picks in the playoffs.
With the Panthers' secondary currently in makeover mode, coaches are depending on the 7-year veteran to help bring along younger players like Boston and one of the most inexperienced cornerback groups in the league.
Including center Ryan Kalil and left tackle Michael Oher, Coleman's extension is the third the Panthers have handed out since early June. The team would also like to get something done with Kawann Short, but with the defensive tackle wanting a Fletcher Cox-like deal and the Panthers unlikely to go much higher than $15 million a season, it's more likely Short will bet on himself this season.