Kalil deal frees up $5.5 million

By signing center Ryan Kalil, who previously was carrying the franchise tender, to a long-term contract the Carolina Panthers freed up $5.516 million in salary-cap space for this season.

Under the tender, Kalil was taking up $10.116 million in cap space. But the deal, which is a five-year extension on top of the tender year, drops Kalil’s cap figure to $4.6 million for this season. That puts the Panthers at about $8 million under the cap and could clear the way for them to make moves at cornerback and wide receiver, two positions where they still would like to improve.

I just got a look at Kalil’s contract numbers and his $8.186 million average per year over six years makes him the highest-paid center in league history. The deal included an $18 million signing bonus with a $1 million base salary for this season. Kalil also is scheduled to receive a $5 million option bonus in 2013.

His base salary for 2012 is $1.5 million and it jumps to $4.75 million in 2013 and stays at that same rate in 2014. In 2015, the base jumps to $5.366 million and rises to $7.5 million in 2016. The deal also includes a workout bonus for each offseason bonus starting next year.