Carolina Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross has restructured his contract, freeing up nearly $7 million in cap space while also providing himself with a path to free agency in 2014, Steve Reed of the Associated Press reports (via the Charlotte Observer).
Gross was originally scheduled to earn $8.7 million in base salary and had an $11.7 million cap number for the 2013 season. According to a source with knowledge of the new contract's details, Gross lowered his base salary to $1 million, which is fully guaranteed, and a $4.5 million signing bonus, of which $3 million will be paid immediately with the remaining $1.5 million deferred until next April.
Gross had been signed through the 2014 season and his $6.7 million salary was lowered to $1 million. To maximize the proration on Gross' signing bonus, three additional seasons were tacked onto the deal. However, if Gross is on the roster five days after Super Bowl XLVIII, his contract will automatically void, making him an unrestricted free agent once the 2014 league year begins.
The new deal lowers Gross' cap number this season to $4.9 million, a cap savings of $6.8 million. On the flipside, because Gross' contract will void, he will count $5.6 million against the Panthers' 2014 salary cap.
Gross, who turns 33 in July, is a two-time Pro Bowler who has started 151 regular season games for the Panthers, who selected the former Utah standout with the eighth overall pick of the 2003 NFL draft.