Carolina comes to terms with Clausen|QB signs a four-year deal worth $2.5 M

Published 7:05 am Thursday, July 29, 2010

By By MIKE CRANSTON, AP Sports Writer
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The Carolina Panthers signed quarterback Jimmy Clausen to a four-year contract that includes $2.53 million in guarantees on Wednesday, ensuring they’ll have no rookie holdouts for the start of training camp.
The second-round pick from Notre Dame agreed to his deal hours before the Panthers reported to Wofford College. He was the last of Carolina’s 10 draft selections to be signed.
‘‘With your draft picks, any day they miss it takes a week to catch up,’’ coach John Fox said. ‘‘I think it’s always important to have your draft picks signed. We’ve done pretty well with that over the years.’’
Agent Gary Wichard and the Panthers worked through the night to reach a deal, which was struck after a fourth-year escalator — a rarity for a second-round pick — was included that tops out at $2.85 million. The total package could be worth as much as $6.3 million.
The deal was reached in time for Clausen to report on time. He was spotted walking into the dormitory while looking at his phone late Wednesday morning. He didn’t stop for reporters and the team didn’t make him available after an afternoon team meeting.
Clausen will likely start practice on Thursday as the third-string quarterback behind Matt Moore and Hunter Cantwell, but could eventually challenge Moore for the starting job. The Panthers released seven-year starter Jake Delhomme in the offseason.
‘‘Has he signed? I don’t even know,’’ Moore said when asked about Clausen as he checked into camp. ‘‘It’s huge. That’s obviously the way you want it, so he can be here and not miss any meetings. That’ll be good for him, not to miss anything.’’
Projected by many to be a top-10 pick, Clausen plunging to Carolina with the 48th overall selection in the draft. The fall cost him money, but he landed with a team that was looking for a QB of the future and one that runs the same pro-style offense he played under at Notre Dame.
Former Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis once worked in New England with Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson.
The Panthers made room for Clausen on the 80-man roster by waiving linebacker Brett Warren.