League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that Brown reached an agreement on a four-year, fully guaranteed $23.6 million deal with the Panthers. This makes him the first Round 1 selection in this year's NFL Draft to reach a deal.
The Panthers selected Brown with the No. 7 overall pick in last month's draft over versatile Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. According to ESPN, the Panthers felt the interior defensive lineman could provide an immediate impact next to Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short, who spent last season on injured reserve because of a shoulder injury.
"We had them very close together, obviously," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said of Brown and Simmons after the draft. "We believed you start building from the front. Derrick not only helps [Short] and the rest of the line... he helps the linebackers. He's a big, powerful player and he's got a good first step."
Brown recorded 54 total tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and four passes defensed during his senior season at Auburn. In four seasons (2016-19) with the Tigers, he notched 170 tackles, 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and eight pass breakups.
Including Brown, the Panthers selected seven defensive players in the 2020 draft. It was the first time in the common draft era -- which began in 1967 -- that a team used all of their draft picks on defense.