Panthers tight end Greg Olsen‘s been one of the most consistent tight ends in the NFL, and was the first tight end to ever record three straight 1,000-yard seasons.
And for the second straight offseason, he’s sending messages to the team he loves making it clear he’s looking for a new contract.
While saying he wanted to stay with the Panthers beyond the final year of his contract, Olsen told Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer he’s hoping for a new deal before the start of the season, while casually dropping hints about his future in broadcasting.
“My preference would be to know my future here in Carolina past this year, if I’m being honest. Whether or not that happens, we’ll see,” Olsen said. “But that would be the ideal situation and then that would answer a lot of these unknown questions.”
A year ago, Olsen threatened a holdout when then-G.M. Dave Gettleman didn’t rush to give him an extension. Gettleman eventually got fired, and replacement Marty Hurney eventually added some incentives to Olsen’s deal to soothe some feelings. And Olsen showed up to camp on time, saying he didn’t want to be a distraction (and not wanting to pay $40,000 a day in fines for a deal that wasn’t coming).
Now, he’s using a recent audition with ESPN for a possible analyst role on Monday Night Football as the latest leverage.
“The reality of it is there’s not a lot of those jobs out there and when they ask you to come in and go through that audition process and go through those motions, it’s a great opportunity,” Olsen said. “My mind and my prep has always been on playing. But the reality is those jobs do get your attention a little bit and you’ve at least got to look behind the curtain.”
Having Hurney around helps, since Gettleman was fired (in part) because of his lack of bedside manner in dealing with popular (with owner Jerry Richardson) veterans Thomas Davis and Olsen. And Olsen made it clear he was hoping to stay.
“Everyone knows what we went through last year trying to get something done [contractually]. We were able to kind of patchwork it,” Olsen said. “But overall I have a lot of trust in Marty and Ron. They’ve always been very fair to me.
“If this was my last year in Carolina, I’d have no ill will. They’ve been more than generous and good to me. I would prefer it to be longer. But this team is a lot more than just my situation.”
The Panthers also need Olsen back at his productive best as they transition to a new offense under coordinator Norv Turner, as he’s been one of Cam Newton‘s most reliable targets. Having him healthy again after a broken foot cost him nine games a year ago will help, but there’s some patching up that has nothing to do with the training staff that needs to happen first.