CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Carolina Panthers have found someone new to protect Cam Newton's blindside.
The Panthers, traditionally conservative with their free agency spending, opened with a bang Thursday. They agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent left tackle Matt Kalil on a five-year deal worth $55.5 million, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. Of that, the person said $25 million is guaranteed. The person spoke on Thursday on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't announced the move.
Kalil, who spent five seasons in Minnesota after being selected fourth overall in the 2012 draft, will play with older brother Ryan Kalil, Carolina's two-time All-Pro center.
The 27-year-old Kalil played in all 64 games his first four seasons in Minnesota, but missed 14 in 2016 due to a hip injury that required surgery.
Carolina needed a left tackle with Michael Oher's career uncertain due to a concussion.
The 6-foot-6, 306-pound Kalil has played left tackle his entire career, so it is expected Oher will move to right tackle — assuming he can play.
Oher was solid at left tackle during Carolina's Super Bowl run in 2015, starting every game. But Oher played only three games last season before walking into the training room complaining of concussion-like symptoms. He was placed in the concussion protocol and has never emerged —even three months after Carolina's season ended.
Carolina's starting right tackle Mike Remmers is an unrestricted free agent.
When a reporter from NFL Network earlier this week wrote on Twitter that some Carolina players actively recruiting free agent offensive tackle Russell Okung, the wise-cracking Ryan Kalil responded by tweeting, "I'm not."
Ryan Kalil has said in the past he would love to play with his brother if the opportunity presented itself.
The Kalils will become the first brother to play together on the same offensive line since Jay and Joel Hilgenburg with the New Orleans Saints in 1993. Doug and Dave Widell also played together for three seasons from 1990-92 with the Denver Broncos.
Matt Kalil was picked as an injury replacement for the Pro Bowl as a rookie after enhancing an offensive line that helped pave the way for Adrian Peterson to rush for 2,097 yards in 2012.
The Panthers did lose unrestricted free agent with linebacker A.J. Klein, who announced on Twitter he has joined the division rival Saints.