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Carolina locks down Cam

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POSTED April 25, 2014 11:39 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Cam Newton is now under contract with the Carolina Panthers for the next two seasons.

The Panthers exercised the fifth-year option on Newton’s contract, meaning the former No. 1 draft pick will be with the team at least through the end of the 2015 season.

The team made the announcement Friday, after previously indicating it hoped to sign Newton to a long-term deal.

Newton is slated to make $3.37 million this season and would receive $14.67 million in 2015 if he doesn’t sign a contract extension before then.

By exercising the option on Newton’s rookie deal from 2011, the salary-cap strapped Panthers will have more time to work out a longer contract with the three-year NFL veteran and former Heisman Trophy winner.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman did not return phone calls Friday seeking comment.

Newton said earlier in the week he’s “absolutely fine” with the Panthers picking up the fifth year, but referred all contract talks to his agents and the Panthers front office.

Bills pick up 5th season on DT Dareus’ contract

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have picked up the fifth-year option on the contract of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

General Manager Doug Whaley made the announcement Friday during the team’s pre-draft luncheon. The Bills faced a deadline next week to determine whether to lock in the player through the 2015 season.

Nicks didn’t miss a game in four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. However, he’s played in only nine since signing a five-year, $47.5 million deal with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2012.

He’s not sure how to characterize the progress in his rehabilitation, yet he’s confident he’s on track to get back in the lineup.

Bucs’ Nicks expects to be ready for training camp

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Carl Nicks is eager to get back on the field for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The two-time Pro Bowl guard entering the third year of a big contract missed most of the past two seasons because of injuries and the recurrence of the MRSA infection in his left foot that limited him to two games in 2013. He expects to be ready for training camp this summer.

New coach Lovie Smith has overhauled the offensive line, releasing two long-time starters and signing left tackle Anthony Collins and center Evan Dietrich-Smith in free agency.

But Smith and incoming general manager Jason Licht also are counting on the 28-year-old Nicks to do his part to help transform the Bucs into playoff contenders.

Nicks didn’t miss a game in four seasons with the New Orleans Saints. However, he’s played in only nine since signing a five-year, $47.5 million deal with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2012.

He’s not sure how to characterize the progress in his rehabilitation, yet he’s confident he’s on track to get back in the lineup.

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