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Panthers GM Dave Gettleman says Luke Kuechly extension will get done

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman says he doesn’t talk contracts he’s not limiting that to the media.

Sort of.

Gettleman also doesn’t believe in talking contracts with players once the season begins.

So if middle linebacker Luke Kuechly is to get a long-term deal completed prior to this season, it will have to happen between now and the September 13 opener at Jacksonville.

"You know I’m not going to go there," Gettleman said Monday when asked if he has a timetable for Kuechly’s extension. "You know I don’t talk contracts."

There really isn’t a sense of urgency even though ideally the Panthers would like to get something done sooner rather than later.

Carolina the fifth-year option on Kuechly’s rookie contract this year, meaning the 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year and 2013 Defensive Player of the Year is under contract through the 2016 season.

The situation isn’t much different than it was with quarterback Cam Newton. The fifth-year option was exercised on Newton prior to last season, but the Panthers signed him to a five-year, $103.8 extension in June before he got to his fifth season.

Kuechly likely won’t get to the guaranteed $11.1 million he’s entitled to under the fifth-year option, either.

If an extension isn’t done before this season, it will get done before the 2016 season. Kuechly, according to league insiders, would likely earn somewhere between $12 million and $14 million a year with the extension.

Kuechly won’t get to the $16.8 million a year Kansas City recently gave linebacker Justin Houston, who got a six-year, $101 million extension. Houston had a league-best 22 sacks, a half a sack shy of the league's single-season record, in 2014.

Teams pay more for players who collect sacks than players who collect tackles. Nobody has more tackles (473) than Kuechly the past three years.

But Kuechly has only six sacks.

Regardless, Kuechly plays a huge role in Carolina’s defense, and the Panthers plan to reward him. They are not worried about holdouts or threats to hold out.

Gettleman won’t stress about when the deal gets done.

"They get done when they’re supposed to get done," he said.