If nothing else, the Carolina Panthers lead the NFL in releasing good content.
As a bonus treat off the release of their “Panthers Confidential” feature, the team gave us a behind-the-scenes look into the start of Carolina’s free-agent negotiations for tight end Dan Arnold. In the below clip, you’ll see Panthers director of player negotiations and salary cap manager Samir Suleiman take an early price check with Arnold’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, while GM Scott Fitterer looks on.
“The fascinating exchange begins with GM Scott Fitterer paying a visit to Suleimed’s office, where the two briefly discuss Arnold before putting a call into his agent. Talking on speakerphone, Burkhardt expressed his admiration for the Panthers, seeing Carolina as a strong fit for Arnold, who previously played under offensive coordinator Joe Brady in New Orleans. “I’m open for business,” said Burkhardt, conveying that his client would be open to a one or two-year deal. “At the same time, the kid has never been paid. He’s worked his ass off. You tell me what’s fair.”
Suleimed then asked if Arnold would be amenable to a two-year deal worth $4 million. “Bro, you’ve got to come a little stronger than that,” groaned an audibly frustrated Burkhardt, clearly underwhelmed by Suleimed’s offer. “This is not like the blocking tight end who’s never caught a ball. I mean he’s caught 31 for 450 in 19 games. He’s played 19 games, basically, since he was off the practice squad in New Orleans. He had six touchdowns.” Burkhardt continued to rattle off stats, noting that Arnold outgained Larry Fitzgerald last season while playing just 40 percent of Arizona’s offensive snaps.
“Are you reading off something or is this all by memory?” asked Suleimed.
“This is all by memory,” Burkhardt responded. “Half the league has called me about this kid.”
Suleimed stood firm at $4 million, but eventually both sides had to meet in the middle and agree on a two-year, $6-million payday for Arnold. The deal guaranteed the 26-year-old $4.5 million, more than the Panthers’ first number entirely, with a $2.54 million signing bonus.
Arnold, 26, played last season in Arizona, seeing action in all 16 games and starting five. He made 31 catches for 438 yards and four touchdowns.