Free Agent Stock Watch: Kawann Short

He was one of the NFL’s premier defensive tackles across multiple seasons. Now, he stands as one of the very best free agents left on the board. We haven’t heard much about Kawann Short since he was released in February, but the former Panthers star shouldn’t have too much trouble finding his next employer.

Short said “a few teams” reached out over the winter, mostly with interest in one-year deals due to his recent shoulder injuries. That’s a clear red flag, but suitors might feel better knowing that the Panthers have left the door open to a reunion. New GM Scott Fitterer told Short that’d he’d be willing to talk about a new deal — something less than his previous five-year, $80MM pact.

Short, 32, has played in just five games over the past two seasons. He’s torn both of his rotator cuffs in that span, preventing him from doing his usual fine work. Before all of that, Short was a key pillar of the Panthers’ defense. His first nod came in 2015 when he registered eleven sacks. In 2017, he turned in a 7.5-sack season. And, just two years ago, he earned his second Pro Bowl nod.

The veteran won’t match his previous $16MM AAV, but plenty of teams should be willing to put a deal on the table. For starters, there’s the Buffalo—Carolina pipeline; Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott would love to add him to the Bills’ already stacked interior. Alternatively, if former foe Dan Quinn wants to add Short to his defense, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would surely break out the checkbook. The Seahawks also have a knack for signing big-name vets and a healthy Short would ease the sting of losing Jarran Reed. Though it’s hard to bank on Short’s health and availability, he’d be one heck of a summer addition on a one-year, ~$2MM deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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