Carolina Panthers declare they signed "steal of the century" from New York Jets

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Frankie Luvu has been praised by the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers (Image: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Frankie Luvu has been praised by the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers (Image: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich has explained why the team got a “steal of the century” from the New York Jets

In 2021, the Panthers signed linebacker Frankie Luvu as a free agent on an initial one-year deal. Luvu had previously spent three seasons with the Jets, after going undrafted in 2018 from Washington State before being picked up by the AFC East franchise.

Those three years at MetLife Stadium saw Luvu become one of the key players in the Jets defense, before he ultimately left as a free agent. Then it was in North Carolina where he found his new home as a starting linebacker.

Luvu played 13 games in his first season in Charlotte, recording 1.5 sacks with 43 total tackles. As a result, the Panthers signed Luvu to a two-year extension in February 2022 which runs until the end of the forthcoming 2023 regular season and which would reportedly see him earn $9 million (£7.1 million) over the length of the contract.

Despite being a linebacker, Luvu has also made an impact on special teams for the Panthers. And now the team’s head coach has heaped plenty of praise on the 26-year-old, who is about to enter his third year as part of the franchise’s defense.

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Reich - who was appointed as the Panthers new head coach in January 2023 after replacing interim coach Steve Wilks - has already noticed the impact that Luvu has on the entire roster, not just on defense.

“He’s a unique guy. Frankie’s so unique,” Reich told USA Today. “That guy, he has so much energy, such a good player, so versatile.

Carolina Panthers declare they signed "steal of the century" from New York JetsFrankie Luvu signed for the Carolina Panthers after three years with the New York Jets (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

“I was talkin’ to Scott [Fitterer, Panthers general manager] the other day and I said, ‘How did we end up with this guy?’ Man, this was like the steal of the century gettin’ Frankie on this team.

“Love his leadership, love his plays, consistency, his aggressiveness. Yeah, we’re in a good place with Frankie.”

Luvu and the whole Panthers roster are preparing for the pre-season schedule which includes friendly against the Jets, New York Giants and the Detroit Lions. That is all the build-up to the Week One opener against NFC South divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons.

Mark Wakefield

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