The Carolina Panthers appear to be ready to franchise tag DT Kawann Short. But they better not make the same mistake as last year with that tag.
In 2015, the Carolina Panthers went to the Super Bowl with the No. 6 overall, No.11 pass defense. In 2016, they finished No. 21 overall and No. 29 against the pass. The result of that was the Panthers finishing 6-10 and picking No. 8 in the 2017 NFL Draft.
There were a few reasons why and one of them was the retirement of CB Charles Tillman. Another reason, perhaps bigger, was that the team rescinded the franchise tag on fellow CB Josh Norman. The defense improved down the stretch in 2016 but it was far cry from 2015.
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This year, according to what HC Ron Rivera told ESPN‘s Adam Schefter that Kawann Short will get the franchise tag. Short was an All-Pro with 11 sacks in 2015. In 2016, the disruptive DT’s sack count went down to six, still a good number for his position.
And of course, he is a run-stuffer as Pro Football Focus has him as the No. 2 DT vs. the run. Short is reportedly seeking $17-19 million annually on a long-term deal. So the Panthers will use the tag in case the two sides can’t agree.
The Panthers defense will be fine in 2017 with CB James Bradberry and Daryl Worley. They showed some improvement over the season and look promising going forward. But they wouldn’t be without Short so this is one tag that absolutely shouldn’t get rescinded.
Actually, that isn’t very likely as GM Dave Gettleman values his “hog mollies” as the foundation of his defense. He likely rescinded Normans tag and couldn’t agree with him long term with Short’s contract in mind. Short is the guy he knows he has to keep.