With the money they saved by pulling the franchise tag from Josh Norman a year ago, the Panthers were hoping to do a long-term deal with defensive tackle Kawann Short.
And it appears they’ve come to realize that might not work the way they planned.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said on ESPN that they “probably will have to tag” Short this offseason.
Locking him in for one year is a key component, as they try to maintain a strong middle of their defense while they rebuild the edges.
But it also continues a contractual dance that will likely continue for months.
Short initially said he’d sign the tag quickly, but then he realized (or someone close to him reminded him) that he wouldn’t.
It gives them time, and at least one more year of an impactful interior defender. His six sacks last year were off the pace of the 11.0 he had in 2015, but his value remains high. Even after using a first-rounder on defensive tackle Vernon Butler last year, the Panthers want to retain him long-term.