On the surface, this doesn't look like the Panthers accomplish much since Jay would have received a one-year deal tomorrow anyway. Hearing the deal is for $4.9 million, and the Panthers felt he could have received as much as $5.5 tomorrow.
The one thing this does is create some good will between the two sides. The fact these two could come to some sort of agreement means Jay may be amenable for something else later one. Signing before going to arbitration eliminates some bad vibes that could come out of the hearing.
The Panthers, who offered a number of long-term deals including a two-year set, feel Jay wants to see how things are going to be around here before getting locked in. He wants to make sure it's not business as usual in Pantherland before picking out his cabin on the ship.
"We're real happy to have been able to get an agreement with Jay and his agent,'' general manager Jacques Martin said. "We feel it satisfied both parties. It’s a fair deal for us, a fair deal for what he brings to the table. He’s a young player, one who plays a lot of minutes and a lot of different situations. It's good to have this behind us.
"I think at least to have him and be able to come to an agreement showed some progress. Two years ago, we went to arbitration with him. This shows good faith by both parties. This is a chance for Jay to step in and help our team progress. We feel we’re going to have some success with the moves we made.''
Problem is, if Jay thinks the Panthers are continuing to to sink, he's moving on.
"I'm glad Jay is on board. Sometime during the season, hope to get it long term,'' JM said. "We’re progressing. We want to have a good start to the season, then address the issue.
"We have a player who was a third overall pick, a kid who is a winner, a competitor. He wants to get into the playoffs, win a championship. We feel with him signed now, we can use this year to show where we’re going.''