Greg Olsen sticks with Panthers, signs two-year extension

Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen has signed a two-year contract extension after contemplating his future in the NFL and a potential broadcasting career.

The new deal is worth $8.55 million per season, with an annual maximum value of up to $10.05 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“I’ve made it clear over the past year that I want to keep playing and I want to play here,” Olsen said in a statement Thursday. “Both sides were very fair and worked on it in a timely manner. I feel really good about what we were able to get done both for ourselves and the team.”

That doesn’t mean the Panthers will select South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, as was predicted Tuesday night in the ESPN.com NFL Nation mock draft. They have plenty of other needs that are more pressing. A tight end to play opposite Olsen could be considered a luxury pick, even though Carolina plays a lot of two-tight-end sets and has no proven backup for Olsen after letting Ed Dickson go to Seattle in free agency.

The Panthers still have needs for a safety, wide receiver and possibly a center or guard.

Players who could be available with their pick to fill those needs are Stanford safety Justin Reid, Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore and UTEP guard Will Hernandez.

Atlanta Braves: Although it takes two parties to come together on a contract agreement, the Braves should aggressively pursue a long-term contract with Ronald Acuna one game into his MLB career. As the Indians learned last offseason, even waiting a year or two into the career of a young star can be too late to try to buy out arbitration and free-agent years. Francisco Lindor reportedly rejected a $100 million contract extension last spring. Getting Acuna locked up on the field now, rather than waiting another five or six weeks to avoid Super Two status, could be the biggest impact move the club could make.

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles are desperately clinging to hopes of contention in their final year of control over Manny Machado. What the Orioles need is Kevin Gausman to pitch like an ace and to encourage him to rely more on his split-finger fastball, which he employed to post a nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning — an immaculate inning — against the Indians on Monday.

Bucks: C John Henson (back) missed his fourth straight game, with Thon Maker getting his first start of the series over Tyler Zeller. Maker finished with four points and one block. … Held a 25-4 edge on transition points. … Jabari Parker had another strong game off the bench with nine points and 11 rebounds, while Tony Snell had six points.

Veteran forward Al Horford chalks up Game 6 as another valuable learning experience for his young teammates.dolphins_032

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