Panthers closing in on cap

It’s not as dramatic as the major releases the Atlanta Falcons made Friday morning, but the Carolina Panthers are working toward getting under the salary cap.

They have restructured the contract of safety Haruki Nakamura to free up about $500,000. They also reportedly have restructured the contract of tight end Greg Olsen to free up about $2 million.

The Panthers dropped Nakamura’s cap figure from $1.633 million to $1.115 million. That was accomplished by dropping Nakamura’s base salary from $1.3 million to $715,000. But Nakamura got a $65,000 signing bonus and the Panthers also added a workout bonus of $35,000 to his contract. The new deal also allows Nakamura to earn up to $300,000 more if he meets unspecified playing-time standards. Nakamura had been under contract through 2014, but, under the new deal, he becomes a free agent after the 2013 season.

The Panthers dropped Olsen’s base salary from $3.75 million to $750,000, but gave him a $3 million bonus.

It’s still unclear how much more the Panthers have to trim to get under the cap. But there are more moves coming. Carolina likely will restructure more contracts and cornerback Chris Gamble and defensive tackle Ron Edwards are likely to be released to free up cap room.