Although he is coming off his third torn ACL, the Panthers want Davis back, and they made it happen by working around salary-cap challenges. A league source told ESPN.com that Davis’ deal has been restructured to free up $3.8 million in salary-cap space.
The Panthers chose not to exercise an $8 million option bonus that was due this week. The bonus was put in as a safeguard when Davis signed a new contract last summer. He suffered his third injury early last season.
Davis’ cap figure for 2012 is now a comfortable $2.1 million. In addition to not getting the bonus, Davis took a cut in base salary from $2.25 million to $700,000 for this season.
But Davis can recoup some of the money later in the contract that runs through 2015. He has a $500,000 option bonus in 2013, and a $2.5 million second option in 2014. His new base salaries rise steadily each season. If he’s still with the team in 2015, his base salary will be $7.25 million.