Derrick Brown deal highlights Carolina Panthers professional culture shift

Derrick Brown is a wealthy man...
Derrick Brown
Derrick Brown / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Derrick Brown's well-deserved contract extension indicates a newfound sense of professionalism in the Carolina Panthers' decision-making process.

There's no need to worry.

The Carolina Panthers resolved a potentially complicated situation by tying their best player down to a multi-year contract. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN later confirmed by the team, Derrick Brown signed a new four-year, $96 million deal that's worth around $63.16 million guaranteed. Something that was universally well-received by the fanbase on social media once the news broke.

Brown had one year remaining on his rookie deal. He's also coming off a campaign where he broke the single-season NFL tackle record for interior defensive linemen and made the Pro Bowl. More importantly, this move signifies that the Panthers are going about their business differently under the front-office power couple of Dan Morgan and Brandt Tilis.

Carolina Panthers are running a professional football operation

Lessons have been taken on board following the Brian Burns contract saga. The stud edge rusher's extension was managed horribly by the incompetent previous regime. This left Morgan to clean up the mess, trading him to the New York Giants for way below his talent level.

Morgan wasn't going to make the same mistake with another cornerstone piece. Getting this done before a potential holdout - which was entirely possible given Carolina's reputation and the fact Drew Rosenhaus is the player's agent - represents a level of professionalism and purpose that wasn't there previously. Every fan can be thankful for that.

Another who's no doubt thrilled by this latest development is defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who recently highlighted what makes Brown such a special player when speaking via the team's website.

"He plays hard. I mean, and I've said it before, but probably the most impressive thing that he does for a man that big, 340-plus pounds, to run down the field, play hard every down. He's making plays 40 yards down the field. He's really, he's a heck of a player. What you see in him is just continued growth and maturation and learning the NFL game, understanding, not only using his physical ability, but also all the nuances of the game that come with experience, and all of that is just playing out. . . . Even before I took this job, I knew what a player he was and his reputation in the league is a guy that is hard to block. That's been happening for a couple of years now."

Ejiro Evero via

Fans were skeptical of Morgan after he was promoted despite being Scott Fitterer's right-hand man. That shouldn't be the case anymore.

He's restoring a sense of pride where once there was nothing but dismay. There is still a lot of hard work ahead and his first NFL Draft to navigate as the team's primary decision-maker, but things couldn't be going much better right now.

Getting Brown's contract worked out locks down an integral piece of the puzzle. It shows Morgan is willing to reward those drafted by the team rather than just promising the fact. This is the traditional way of molding a contender - something that became a foreign concept during the desperate Matt Rhule and Fitterer years.

The times are changing. Brown's extension is another significant statement of intent from Morgan and the Panthers. One that should inspire a level of confidence across the team's long-suffering fanbase and make the entire NFL start looking at this organization differently.