News: Olsen signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract extension with the Panthers on Thursday, the team's official website reports.
Impact: Olsen will turn 30 on March 11, but he hasn't shown any signs of decline, and has arguably even improved in recent seasons. The new contract will run through 2018, ensuring that Olsen is one of Cam Newton's favorite targets for the foreseeable future. The veteran tight end posted career-high marks for receptions (84), targets (122) and receiving yards (1,008) in 2014.
News: The Panthers announced they have signed Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen to a three-year contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2018 season. The deal was announced on Thursday but terms were not immediately known.
Impact: Olsen went to his first Pro Bowl in 2014 after catching 84 passes for 1.008 yards, both new franchise records for a tight end. He finished the regular season third among tight ends in receptions and had six touchdowns. He had three 100-yard receiving games last season, the most ever by a Carolina tight end. Olsen, 26, was acquired in a trade from Chicago in 2011 and has played in 126 consecutive regular season games, the second-longest active streak among tight ends.
News: Soon-to-be free agent Hardy will be allowed to sign a new contract even if he remains on the commissioner's exempt list.
Impact: League spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday in an email to The Associated Press, "There's nothing to prevent a player on the Exempt list without a contract from signing a new one." NFL free agency begins Tuesday. However, Hardy's playing status remains in limbo. He isn't allowed to actually play until removed from the exempt list, which could prevent teams from going after him in free agency.