Two days before Wednesday’s deadline, the Panthers used the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive tackle Kawann Short.
Under the franchise tag, Short would earn roughly $13.5 million for the 2017 season (per NFL.com) and the two sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement. There’s also the slim chance another team could offer Short a deal, in which case the Panthers would choose to either match that offer or let him go in exchange for two first-round picks. And, of course, let’s not forget what the Panthers did a year ago when they rescinded Josh Norman’s franchise tag.
Like the Cardinals’ decision to tag Chandler Jones, this was an entirely expected move. Last week, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora estimated that there was a 100 percent chance the Panthers would tag Short. And here’s what La Canfora wrote about the two sides potentially reaching a long-term deal:
Short anchors the Panthers’ defensive line, and their attempts to sign him have gone nowhere. Some of the blame for that can be attributed to the DT market exploding in recent years with deals for Marcell Dareus and Fletcher Cox, among others.
Getting something done for the long haul right now is bleak at best … but letting another elite player from Carolina’s defense walk while getting nothing but a compensatory draft pick 15 months from now in return isn’t really viable for this franchise, either. A year after nearly winning the Super Bowl, they need to be doing whatever is possible to win some games in 2017, and Short is certainly part of that equation.
In 2015, Short notched 11 sacks. This past season, his production dropped to six sacks. Despite the decline, Short has racked up the third-most sacks among all defensive tackles since 2015, per NFL Research. A former second-round pick, the 28-year-old is Pete Prisco’s fifth-ranked free agent.
Translation: He’s good, but he’s not going anywhere.