Despite placing their franchise tag on breakout cornerback Josh Norman, the Carolina Panthers rescinded the tag, losing the star in free agency this offseason. This left many questioning general manager Dave Gettleman’s philosophies and practices.
The GM has always placed great emphasis on the defensive line. His belief is that a strong front seven is the key to a successful defense, as it stuffs the run and can hide weaknesses in a secondary. It has been Carolina’s bread and butter since he took over the team in 2012. Essentially, defensive linemen and linebackers, especially defensive tackles, are more valuable to Gettleman than cornerbacks and safeties are.
This is why the team is looking to make defensive tackle Kawann Short one of the highest paid defensive tackles in the NFL. Currently, the highest paid player at the position is Ndamukong Suh, who is entering the second year of his six-year, $114 million contract with the Miami Dolphins. He also is guaranteed just under $60 million. Short is likely to receive an offer that is less than this, but still well up there in terms of guaranteed money.
However, recently, ESPN’s David Newton, who covers Carolina for their website, reported that the team and Short have paused talks of a contract extension.
Short, who led the team with eleven sacks last season, had this to say about pausing conversations of an extension:
“If it happens, it happens, but we haven’t focused on that. I’ve still got a lot I need to do. I’ve put myself in the position, but at the same time, I’m not where I want to be. We’re not rushing the issue.”
Kawann Short’s Future with the Carolina Panthers
Short is entering into the final year of his four-year rookie contract with the team. The release of Norman has also given the Panthers plenty of cap space: over $30 million, in fact.
Gettleman values defensive tackles so much that he used the team’s 2016 first-round pick on Vernon Butler. In his first year with the team, he used his first two picks on Short and Star Lotulelei.
In terms of value, Short might be a better long-term option for the team than Lotulelei, who has struggled with both injuries and consistency during his tenure in Carolina. However, he is still a top player at the position, and losing him would be detrimental to the defensive line.
In the end, if the team has to lose one of these defensive tackles, it should be Lotulelei. Short would be a great mentor for Butler as he stepped into the role. Considering Gettleman’s love for “hogmollies”, however, he will most likely do everything in his power to keep all of these tackles.
Therefore, while Short is likely to receive a lot of money, the team would do well to see if he would be willing to accept a more team-friendly deal, so they can keep their “hogmollies.”
If the team is unable to work out a deal with Short before the season starts, they should consider placing the franchise tag on him. Unlike Norman, Short would most likely be more willing to sign the tender and stay with the Panthers.
Kawann Short is the epitome of what the Panthers look for in players: hard-working, a team-first attitude, and tough mentally and physically. Do not be surprised when he gets a big payday from the Carolina Panthers.