Very quietly, the Carolina Panthers have signed two players currently on injured reserve to contract extensions.
Yeah, actually, it makes sense. The Panthers made the moves in late November, but never officially announced that offensive lineman Garry Williams was signed to a two-year extension and tight end Gary Barnidge was signed to a one-year extension.
The Panthers obviously are expecting both players to come back healthy and the extensions will prevent them from leaving via free agency.
Williams’ deal was the bigger of the two, according to numbers obtained by ESPN.com. He was given a $400,000 signing bonus. He’s scheduled to make $550,000, plus a $100,000 workout bonus in 2012. In 2013, his salary will rise to $900,000 with a $100,000 workout bonus.
Williams is viewed as a player who can be a solid backup at guard and tackle and even has the potential to develop into a starter.
Barnidge isn’t a threat to take playing time away from Greg Olsen, but can be valuable as a backup, especially if Jeremy Shockey is not re-signed after this season. Barnidge was given a $50,000 signing bonus. He’s scheduled to make $615,000 next season and also can collect a $25,000 workout bonus.