Carolina Panthers: Kawann Short Contract Solidifies Future Plans

Dec 11, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (99) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers made a big move in signing Kawann Short to a five-year, $80 million dollar deal.

The Carolina Panthers made an important move on Monday when the team announced that defensive star, Kawann Short, has been signed to a new, five-year deal. The two sides agreed to a deal worth $80 million over five years that locks up their biggest free agent question mark this season. This is a move that impacts not only their present roster, but the upcoming draft and other potential moves in the coming future.

Many aspects of the deal were unannounced, but according to a report by ESPN, the new contract includes $45 million in total guarantees and will pay Short $40 million during the first two years. The contract keeps him on the Panthers’ roster through the 2021 season.

This new deal puts Short behind only franchise quarterback Cam Newton with the second-highest average salary on the team. His new deal also places him third among all defensive lineman in the NFL, behind only Fletcher Cox and Ndamukong Suh. The Panthers tried to avoid this situation by signing Short to a long-term deal after the 2015 season but failed, leaving many to believe that Short would end up with another organization.

Short has been a pivotal part of the Panthers defense. The 2013 second-round draft pick has earned 22 sacks and filled the void for other injured players. The fifth-year player has yet to miss a game at a position that has been decimated by injuries in the past. When coupled with other moves that Carolina has made, this allows the team to put together a stable of defensive lineman that should strike fear in opposing offenses.

Last year, Charles Johnson signed a restructured deal to stay in Carolina. This offseason the Panthers successfully secured the services of Mario Addison, who led the Panthers in sacks last season. There’s also second-year player Vernon Butler and others on this unit which gives the Panthers something they haven’t experienced in a while: options.

Short’s re-signing also keeps the Panthers from experiencing a situation similar to what occurred last season with Josh Norman. Both sides wanted Norman to remain in Charlotte, but they could not come together to create the right deal.

This resulted in Norman going to join the Washington Redskins and the Panthers’ defensive backfield struggling at moments throughout the year. Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman has long shown a propensity to work with defensive lineman more than those in the defensive backfield and this new deal for Short speaks to that trend.

The 2016 season left many people wondering if the Panthers would find a way to make the right roster moves to rebuild after a mediocre year. Re-signing Short to a long-term deal is the right move at the right time for this organization. Short not only brings consistency to this defensive unit, he brings a level of impact play that the Panthers were missing in many positions last season.

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