CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers made it clear Wednesday they didn't want to lose upstart quarterback Matt Moore, giving the restricted free agent the highest possible tender.
Ahead of his anticipated competition with Jake Delhomme for the starting job, the Panthers offered Moore a one-year deal worth $3.043 million. That means another team would have to surrender first- and third-round draft picks to Carolina to sign him.
The Panthers also placed the first- and third-round tender of $3.268 million on starting outside linebacker Thomas Davis. They decided to use just the second-round tender of $1.759 million on starting cornerback Richard Marshall.
Tight end Jeff King ($1.759 million) and defensive tackle Louis Leonard ($1.684 million) also received second-round tenders, while reserve linebacker James Anderson ($1.176 million) and defensive tackle Tank Tyler ($1.101 million) were given third-round tenders.
Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd, safety Quinton Teal and tackle Rob Petitti were among Carolina's restricted free agents not offered deals.
General manager Marty Hurney didn't immediately return a phone message Wednesday, but said last week he expected competition at quarterback in training camp. Delhomme has been the team's starter since 2003 and received a lucrative contract extension before last season, but is coming off a miserable 18-interception season.
After Delhomme was sidelined with a broken finger late in 2009, Moore came on and led the Panthers to four wins in their last five games. The 25-year-old Moore finished with eight touchdown passes, two interceptions and a passer rating of 98.5.
While it's virtually certain that Moore will be back, it's possible a team might try to sign Marshall and surrender a second-round pick. Marshall took over as a starter last season and the Panthers' secondary came on strong late in the year.
"Wow. He is a great player and somebody might pick that up," Panthers safety Chris Harris posted on Twitter.
Davis was having what many felt was a Pro Bowl season in 2009 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. But his recovery is progressing and he's begun running.
The Panthers may try to re-sign Lloyd for less than the $1.101 million tender as Carolina likely will need someone to handle kickoffs for aging kicker John Kasay.
Carolina also gave an original, seventh-rounder tender of $1.101 million to cornerback C.J. Wilson, and offered deals to exclusive rights free agents Nick Hayden, Kenny Moore, Charly Martin and Jordan Senn.