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Panthers announce they’re picking up Star Lotulelei’s option

Carolina Panthers v Green Bay Packers

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Since they had that extra $14 million of the Josh Norman money just sitting around, the Panthers decided to start using it.

They began with the #asexpected part, officially exercising the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Star Lotulelei that they already said they were going to.

“Star has not disappointed by any stretch of the imagination, and he’s getting better,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said. “He’s earned this. I’m excited we’re going to have him around for two more years.”

The interesting part will come next, as fellow 2013 draft pick Kawann Short has just one year left on his rookie deal, and no (relatively) cheap and easy option to keep him around. That’s going to take a big-money extension, as Short provides the kind of easy-to-quantify impact (11.0 sacks last year) that Lotulelei does not.

And that’s likely what Gettleman had in mind when he rescinded the franchise tag for Norman, saying the longer he thought about it, the less he liked spending that kind of money on a corner.