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What does Gamble's deal mean for Peppers, Gross?

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

The Panthers just announced cornerback Chris Gamble has signed a contract extension through 2014.

That's nice, but it raises a much bigger question for Carolina fans: What does Gamble's extension mean for Julius Peppers and Jordan Gross?

They're the other two guys that can become free agents after the season and they're probably more irreplaceable than Gamble would have been. There's a school of thought out there that the Panthers might be able to keep only two of those big names because of salary-cap reasons.

There's logic in that, but, from what I've heard, the Panthers think they can keep all three. That may take some creativity, but it's not impossible. First, you can structure any deal to make it cap friendly for a year or two.

Second, there's the franchise tag. It's on Gross right now and the Panthers can't talk to him about a contract until the season is over. They can talk to Peppers and they have been for a couple of years. There's a theory out there that Peppers at least wants to test the market.

But he might not get that chance. Once the season ends, the tag comes off Gross and the Panthers can switch it over to Peppers. A lot of people think it's automatic Peppers, who was born, raised and went to college in North Carolina, might give the Panthers a bit of a hometown discount. I don't think that's the case. In fact, I think Gross, who has set down pretty deep roots in Charlotte, might be more inclined to be creative to get a contract done.