With Panthers tackle Nate Chandler in a battle with Byron Bell to win a starting tackle job, Chandler got a nice little pick-me-up Wednesday when the team signed him to a three-year extension. According to NFL.com, the deal is worth $7.95 million with $1.87 million in guarantees.
Previously, Chandler had been scheduled to make $570,000 for 2014.
Chandler was a tight end at UCLA, but he played at defensive tackle his rookie year in 2012. Last season, though, he was switched to offensive line, and he ended up starting eight games, six at right guard and two at right tackle.
This offseason, Chandler and Bell -- who started all 16 games at right tackle last season -- have been splitting reps at both tackle spots as the team tries to replace the loss of left tackle Jordan Gross, who was ranked as the third-best tackle of 2013 by Pro Football Focus before retiring.
"Going into this year I really wasn't thinking about an extension or anything like that. After OTAs it came up, and it really hasn't hit me yet," Chandler said. "I'm just so thankful for them believing in me. I came in as an undrafted rookie not knowing if I would make the team, and now the two years of work I've put in has gotten me to this point. It's a really good feeling."
Said Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman: "He's come a long way. He's getting some on-the-job training and he's showing a lot of promise."