Legendary approval increases Carolina Panthers' urgency with Frankie Luvu

This was high praise indeed...

Frankie Luvu
Frankie Luvu / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Frankie Luvu's legendary seal of approval increases pressure on the Carolina Panthers to work out a long-term extension.

Unless the Carolina Panthers work out a long-term deal with Frankie Luvu over the next few days, the ferocious linebacker will be free to examine alternative offers. There is no need to panic just yet, but it's been all quiet on the Western Front up to now. Fans are waiting with cautious optimism to see what comes next.

Luvu is looking for a major pay increase after firmly establishing himself as one of Carolina's most integral defensive performers over the last two seasons. His consistent playmaking and fearless leadership came in for significant praise throughout the 2023 campaign. After getting the former undrafted free agent out of Washington State relatively cheaply on his last extension, it's time to pay.

According to Spotrac, Luvu's projected market value currently stands at $11.25 million on a four-year, $45 million deal. While few would argue he isn't worth such a commitment, this completely evaporates the Panthers' remaining salary-cap space before further sacrifices.

Carolina Panthers need to re-sign Frankie Luvu

There are ways to work contracts to suit all parties, which is something Brandt Tilis is tasked with after his successful spell in the Kansas City Chiefs front office. Ahead of free agency, Luvu got a legendary seal of approval that increases pressure on the Panthers to get things resolved successfully.

When speaking to Joe Person of The Athletic, iconic linebacker Luke Kuechly highlighted Luvu's qualities and how much of a fan he is of the player. This centered on his passion, energy, and versatility, although the perennial All-Pro was quick to point out that anything can happen during the free-agent frenzy.

"Love Frankie. I think his energy, passion and love for football is something that’s been really good for us when you lose a lot of guys. Like, who’s one of our guys we look to that’s passionate, loves football, has great energy, is around the ball, plays physical, who’s tough, will play hurt? He embodies all of that stuff. We’ll see what happens. You’d love to re-sign all of your guys. But as we know, that’s not how it goes. We’ll just wait and see what happens. But he’s fun to watch. He’s around the ball. When you watch the game, it’s like, “Oh, there’s Frankie.” He just pops up and pops up and pops up. Guys that just pop up are football players. You don’t know where he’s gonna line up. He could line up on the ball, off the ball, on the right, on the left. He can blitz, he can drop, he can play the run. He just shows up. And I think there’s a lot to be said for that."

Luke Kuechly via The Athletic

With the Panthers already facing backlash for their handling of Bran Burns' contract situation that eventually saw him placed under the non-exclusive franchise tag, they can ill-afford to mismanage Luvu. Those in power will have a price in mind, but the second-level enforcer should also know his importance to the franchise after three encouraging seasons in Carolina.

Again, it's a tricky situation that the new power structure must handle with extreme care. Luvu is the best linebacker Carolina's had since Kuechly was forced into a cruel early retirement. There are few more dependable players on the roster right now. But it's also worth remembering that this is a business above all else.

Luvu is a stud. He won't be short of offers if his representatives get the opportunity to speak with other interested parties. Simply put, the Panthers cannot let another top-level performer slip through their grasp in pursuit of a brighter future.