Gross signed, Peppers franchised

Jordan Gross

The Carolina Panthers signed one of their cornerstones on Thursday to a multi-year deal as they prepared to cast off one of the most popular players in team history.

The Panthers came to terms with All-Pro tackle Jordan Gross on Thursday to a six-year deal that will pay him over $30.5 million over the first three years.

Meanwhile, the Panthers slapped All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers with the non-exclusive Franchise Tag, meaning Peppers is free to negotiate with any team he sees fit. If Peppers and the team of his choice agree to terms, that team would have to surrender two first round draft picks to the Panthers.

The Panthers also could trade Peppers for lesser compensation, which is the more likely scenario.

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