Robby Anderson Extension Creates $3.2M in Cap Space

Robby Anderson signed a two year extension worth $29.5 million to remain with the Carolina Panthers and the contract will create just under $3.2 million in cap room for the Panthers this season. Per a league source with knowledge of the contract, Anderson’s cap number will drop from $12 million to $8.82 million in 2021, giving them the third most cap space in the NFL this season which can either be used for extensions or carried over to help offset a more difficult cap position next year.

The contract is a solid deal for Anderson who locks in a nice guarantee on another short term deal. Anderson will earn an additional $4.5 million this year than he would have under his prior contract as part of the extension. Anderson’s base salary this year will be $990,000 while receiving an $11.51 million signing bonus.

In 2022 Anderson will have a $10 million salary of which $8 million is fully guaranteed. In addition there is a $2.8 million roster bonus. Given the large $8 million guarantee that other $4.8 million in non-guaranteed compensation is virtually guaranteed unless Anderson was to completely fall apart this year. His cap number in 2022 will be $16.8 million and the cost to cut $15.6 million, basically making the June 1 the option if things went way south.

Nothing is guaranteed in 2023 and Anderson will carry a $15.8 million cap charge that year.

In many ways the contract basically works out to a nearly guaranteed one year extension worth $17.5 million, which is the number of the franchise tag in 2022. While Anderson has been a good player most would not put him on the franchise tier. For the Panthers to gain value they need him to finish out the entire contract to get the $14.75 million average which is more in line with Anderson’s market.

Anderson struggled in his run in free agency in 2020, signing a two year contract worth $20 million. The gamble on himself paid off for Anderson who effectively wound up on a four year deal worth $49.5 million with $30.5 million guaranteed and $37.5 million in earnings from 2020 to 2022. That puts him a bit over what Corey Davis earned in free agency this past year.

Many players opt for the one year prove it contract but this two year strategy may also prove effective for players who are not considered elite talents like Anderson. Of free agent receivers this year only Kenny Golladay received a stronger deal than Anderson so it would be hard to imagine a better outcome had he gone the one year route in 2020.

Carolina has about $19 million in projected cap space in 2022 but with such a large carryover number should wind up close to $40 million which would put them in the top third of the league. That number should help them continue their rebuilding process which at the moment is tied to Sam Darnold who will look for an extension in the offseason if he has a good season as the Panthers QB.