CHARLOTTE — Eagerly embracing his new role as the Carolina Panthers' designated starting quarterback, Matt Moore is scheduled to come to Bank of America Stadium this morning to sign his one-year contract tender and officially take himself off the free agency market.
"It's a done deal," his agent, Dr. Lynn Lashbrook, of Portland, said Thursday. "He's excited about getting started for next season."
Moore chose not to delay signing his tender until after the NFL's April 15 deadline for other teams to sign tendered restricted free agents to offer sheets.
"He did not want to wait around," said Lashbrook. "He wanted to send a message to the team and the community.
"This is a good marriage. The Carolina Panthers are a good match for him, and he's been a good match for them. It's an exciting time for [somebody] who was an undrafted free agent three years ago."
Moore's decision locks him in with the Panthers for the 2010 season. If he continues to play well, the team likely will try to sign him to a long-term contract extension.
He's already getting a huge pay raise. His tender pays him $3.043 million next season, more than six times more than his $460,000 base salary last year.
It's been a whirlwind week for Moore and the Panthers. Carolina cleared the way for Moore last Friday by releasing veteran Jake Delhomme. One day earlier, they put the highest possible restricted free agent tender on Moore, requiring any teams interested in signing him to an offer sheet to give the Panthers first- and third-round draft picks if Carolina chose not to match such an offer.
The Panthers intentionally set the compensation above what any other team likely would be willing to surrender.
Moore led the Panthers to a 4-1 record in the final five games after taking over for Delhomme, who was sidelined with a broken knuckle on the middle finger of his throwing (right) hand.
Moore threw eight touchdown passes and one interception in helping the Panthers rally from a 4-7 start to finish the season 8-8.
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