Will Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short get a new deal before the start of the season? My gut feeling says no, but I could be wrong. Even if it doesn't get done, KK will get PAID one of these days and he deserves it.
In just 3 short years, Short has gone from 2nd round draft pick to one of the best if not the best interior defensive linemen in all of the NFL.
In his career, he has 16 sacks with 11 coming last season. He led the NFL in sacks among the defensive tackles.
Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles broke the bank when they signed a new deal with their Pro Bowl defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. He is going to get $103 million over 6 years with 63 million guaranteed.
In 4 years in the league, Cox has 22 career sacks with 9.5 of them coming last season.
At the start of free agency, Jacksonville made DT Malik Jackson a rich man but not as rich as Cox. Jackson signed with the Jaguars from Denver for $85.5 million with $42 million of that guaranteed.
What are Jackson's numbers you ask? In 4 years, he has 14 career sacks and has never had more than 6 in a season.
In short (no pun intended), Short has been just as productive as both and has been in the league one less year.
So, the market is pretty much set and now the Panthers have to decide if they want to play ball. These prices are STEEP for interior defensive linemen and may be too rich for the liking of Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman.
In the end, Short is on the last year of his rookie deal and will get $1.04 million this season.
If they don't get something worked out before training camp, he will probably play the season out and look to get that big pay day next off season.
The team has options next off season as well as they could franchise tag him and keep his rights for next season.
Gettleman has said in the past that the team is not in the business of developing guys and letting them go to other teams, but at these prices, that may go by the wayside (Remember Josh Norman?).
But then again, finding great DT is not easy in the NFL. The Panthers have struck gold with KK and this is one piece they can't afford to let walk out the door.
Either way, this is certainly something to keep an eye on and a big decision for the future of the Carolina Panthers.