Kawann Short

Panthers Open To Re-Signing Kawann Short

One of the NFL’s premier defensive tackles for several years, Kawann Short is now a street free agent after the Panthers released him last week. He has received interest from a few places.

Short said during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio (via NFL.com) “a few teams” have reached out about a deal, one he expects to be a one-year contract due to the shoulder injuries that have sidetracked his career over the past two seasons. But the Panthers may be interested in bringing Short back.

New Panthers GM Scott Fitterer told Short he is open to a lower-cost deal, per Short, should the run-stuffer’s market not produce what he hopes. Short, who signed a five-year extension worth $80MM in 2017, was set to count nearly $20MM against Carolina’s 2021 cap.

Considering Short’s release already tagged Carolina with more than $11MM in dead money, a reunion would certainly be interesting. The Panthers have purged their roster of most of their previous cornerstone players. As of now, only Shaq Thompson remains as a starter from Super Bowl 50. Tre Boston joined Short in Super Bowl 50 cogs jettisoned this month.

Short, 32, is a free agent after having played only five games over the past two seasons. He suffered injuries to both rotator cuffs in that span, stalling momentum he had established. Having expressed appreciation for the Panthers releasing him weeks ahead of free agency, Short sounds amenable to returning to the Panthers. The NFL has a few hubs for ex-Panthers, however, with the Giants (Dave Gettleman), Bills (Sean McDermott, Brandon Beane) and Washington (Ron Rivera) each housing staffers who had a hand in drafting or coaching Short. It will be interesting to see if one or more of these teams express interest.

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Panthers To Release DT Kawann Short

After running into some injury misfortune over the past two seasons, Kawann Short is now set to be a first-time free agent. The Panthers are releasing the veteran defensive tackle, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Short enjoyed a run as one of the league’s top D-tackles but ran into trouble with injuries recently. He will enter free agency having played in just five of the Panthers’ 32 games over the past two seasons.

Despite being a 2013 draftee, Short is already 32. He will not have much momentum going into free agency, but the two-time Pro Bowler should be able to secure a rebound deal in the near future. The Panthers gave Short a five-year, $80MM extension in 2017, and the former second-round pick rewarded the organization with a 7.5-sack season in 2017 and a Pro Bowl nod a year later. Short notched a career-high 11 sacks during Carolina’s 15-1 season in 2015.

The Panthers purged their roster of cornerstone players last year, and Short’s exit will continue a run of prior-regime anchor talents exiting Charlotte. Carolina will save $8.6MM by making this move. Thanks to a 2019 restructure, however, the transaction will cost the team more than $11MM in dead money. (This will not be a post-June 1 cut, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets, so the Panthers will take the entire dead-money hit this year.) Given Short’s injury troubles, this decision was expected.

Short suffered a partial rotator cuff tear early in the 2019 season and damaged his other shoulder in 2020. For his career, the Purdue product has 32.5 sacks and 59 tackles for loss. Short’s release also means the Panthers are down to one starter, Shaq Thompson, from their Super Bowl 50 appearance.

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Kawann Short To Undergo Season-Ending Surgery

After landing on the Panthers’ IR list last October, Kawann Short will be part of such a transaction a year later. The veteran defensive tackle is set to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, Matt Rhule said Wednesday.

This injury is different from the one that ended Short’s 2019 season, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter), but it will still sideline the productive interior defender for the season’s remainder. Short has missed the past two Panthers games. He will exit the 2020 season having played in only five contests over the past two years.

The Panthers gave the former fifth-round pick a lucrative extension in 2017, and Short initially rewarded the franchise with his second Pro Bowl season in 2018. But injuries have prevented the 31-year-old defender from following up that success. The two-time Pro Bowler missed only two games due to injury in his first six seasons.

Short’s contract, which runs through the 2022 season, would make a 2021 release somewhat disadvantageous for the Panthers. It would save them $9MM-plus while also tagging the team with more than $11MM in dead money. However, the rebuilding Panthers — who have won two games without Short this season — made radical roster readjustments this past offseason, moving on from numerous cornerstone players. Short has been with Carolina for eight seasons and, after the team said goodbye to Luke Kuechly and Mario Addison, is now the Panthers’ longest-tenured defender.

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Panthers Place Kawann Short On IR

Kawann Short‘s season is already over. On Tuesday, the Panthers placed the defensive lineman on injured reserve, per a club announcement. 

KK has done everything he could possibly do to try to play these past two games,” general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “But, we have made the decision that it is in the best long-term interest of KK and the team that he undergo surgery to fix his shoulder and focus on his rehab and get ready for next season.”

Short has suffered a partially torn rotator cuff, and those injuries are notoriously tricky to recover from. The surgery, hopefully, will allow short to bounce back in 2020, without the risk of aggravating the injury this year.

Short has been absent for the Panthers’ last two games and wasn’t looking like his usual self in the club’s first two games. It’s a frustrating setback for obvious reasons, but Short has been fairly lucky so far throughout his career – he did not miss a single game through his first five campaigns and missed just two last year.

Thanks to the monster five-year extension he inked in 2017, Short is under contract through the 2023 season. The Panthers, in reality, are only truly locked in with him through 2021: releasing Short in the offseason would saddle them with $17.35MM in dead money and they’d be looking at an $11MM/$9.8MM dead/savings split prior to the 2021 season. After that, there are two low-cost seasons slated for 2022 and 2023.

To take his place on the roster, the Panthers have promoted fellow DL Bryan Cox, Jr. from the practice squad. Cox, the son of three-time Pro Bowler Bryan Cox (duh), has appeared in 18 games for the Panthers over the last two seasons.

The Panthers, meanwhile, are 2-2 with back-to-back wins under the guidance of quarterback Kyle Allen. There’s still no word on when Cam Newton might be able to return.

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Restructured Contract Details: Flacco, Solder, Panthers

With the majority of the NFL beginning their 2019 campaigns tomorrow, a number of teams have slightly tweaked contracts in an effort to open some extra cap space. We’ve compiled some of the notable restructured contracts from this morning, along with some details on some recently-completed deals.

  •  The Broncos converted $17MM of Joe Flacco‘s base salary into a signing bonus, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). The front office also added a pair of voidable years to the contract, thus opening around $13.6MM in 2019 cap space. The veteran quarterback is still on the books for $20.25MM in 2020 and $24.25MM in 2021.
  • The Giants made a similar move with offensive tackle Nate Solder, according to Pelissero (on Twitter). The front office converted $7.5MM of the veteran’s base salary to a fully-guaranteed roster bonus, opening up $5MM in cap space. Solder will still earn the same amount of money over the next two years ($13MM in 2019, $14MM in 2020).
  • One more from Pelissero (via Twitter): the Panthers restructured the contracts of defensive tackle Kawann Short and offensive lineman Trai Turner, opening $13MM in cap space. While the team could use that open money for extensions, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets that the transaction is “more about taking cap space into next year.” Linebacker Shaq Thompson and cornerback James Bradberry are impending free agents, while running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Cam Newton could be eyeing lucrative extensions.
  • The Rams converted $2.25MM of punter Johnny Hekker‘s base salary into a bonus, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The move opens up around $1.69MM in cap space, allowing the team is better accommodate the recent extensions for quarterback Jared Goff and tight end Tyler Higbee.
  • Center Mike Pouncey‘s one-year, $9MM extension with the Chargers will guarantee him $5MM in new money, tweets ESPN’s Dan Graziano (via Twitter). The guarantees include a $2.5MM signing bonus and $2.5MM guaranteed salary in 2020 (the full base salary is $6MM). The veteran’s cap number is now $10MM in 2019 and $7.75MM in 2020.
  • Jacoby Brissett‘s two-year, $30MM extension with the Colts includes an $11MM signing bonus, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (on Twitter). The quarterback has a $2MM salary for 2019, $2MM in per-game roster bonuses (for both years), and a $7MM roster bonus that’s guaranteed in March. As Volin notes, the 26-year-old will likely earn around $13MM to $15MM this season before renegotiating next offseason.
  • Josh Doctson‘s deal with the Vikings is for one year at the league minimum of $720K, reports Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune (via Twitter). The deal includes no guaranteed money. Following the signing of the wideout and punter Britton Colquitt, Minnesota is now sitting with around $1.17MM in cap space.

Panthers Extend Kawann Short

The Panthers have signed defensive tackle Kawann Short to a five-year extension, the club announced today. The new deal is reportedly worth $80MM, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, while $35MM is fully guaranteed, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). $20MM of that guarantee comes in the form of a signing bonus, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). Kawann Short (Vertical)

Short had been assigned the franchise tag, meaning the two sides had until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. He’d expressed a willingness to sign his franchise tender, which would have paid him a fully guaranteed $13.387MM for the 2017 campaign. After staging a short holdout during Carolina’s OTAs in 2016, Short had no plans to use similar tactics this year. The Panthers, of course, rescinded cornerback Josh Norman‘s franchise tag last offseason, but a similar situation won’t play out this year, as Short is now locked up through 2021.

Now earning $16MM annually, Short places third among defensive tackles in yearly salary, just behind Ndamukong Suh and Fletcher Cox. He’ll earn $40MM over the first two years of the deal, tweets Florio. The extension also likely clears a bit of cap room for the Panthers, who won’t be forced to carry Short’s ~$13MM franchise tag on their books in 2016. Any signing bonus included in the pact can be prorated over the life of the deal.

Short, 28, played on nearly three-quarters of Carolina’s defensive snaps in 2016, posting six sacks and grading as the league’s No. 3 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus. The 2015 Pro Bowler has earned positive marks during all four seasons he’s played with the Panthers, grading out as an excellent pass rusher from the inside.

For the Panthers, Short’s extension indicates a continued investment on front four players. General manager Dave Gettleman has used early round picks on Star Lotulelei, Vernon Butler, and Short, signed Mario Addison, Charles Johnson, and Wes Horton to multi-year deals, and inked external free agents such as Julius Peppers in an effort to solidify Carolina’s defensive line.

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Kawann Short To Sign Franchise Tag Soon

Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short is expected to sign his franchise tender at some point this week, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.Kawann Short (Vertical)

[RELATED: Panthers To Pursue Barry Church]

Short would have been the best interior defender on the open market had he reached free agency, but the Panthers opted to assign him the franchise tag, which will pay Short a fully guaranteed $13.387MM for the 2017 season. Short has expressed a willingness to sign the tender in the recent past, confessing that he wouldn’t take the same stance former Carolina franchise player Josh Norman did in 2016. “I wouldn’t fight it or anything,” said Short, who was unable to reach a long-term deal with the Panthers last offseason.

The 28-year-old Short, who graded as the league’s No. 3 interior defender last season per Pro Football Focus, would have until later this summer to ink an extension with the Panthers after signing the tag. Short earned a base salary of just over $1MM during the 2016 campaign.

Earlier today, Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson became the first 2017 franchise player to sign his tender.

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2017 NFL Franchise Tag Players

The deadline to designate franchise or transition players for 2017 has passed. Here’s the rundown of the players that were tagged, plus the candidates that did not receive the designation:

Franchise players (exclusive):

Franchise players (non-exclusive):

*second tag; players receive raise over designated salary for position tender

Candidates who didn’t receive tags:

Panthers Franchise Tag Kawann Short

The Panthers have applied the franchise tag to Kawann Short, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The long-expected move has since been confirmed by Carolina.

Kawann Short

[RELATED: Melvin Ingram, Trumaine Johnson To Be Franchise Tagged?]

Now that Short has been tagged, the two sides will have until July to work out a long-term deal. If they are not able to come to a new agreement, Short will likely play out the 2017 season on a one-year, $13.468MM pact.

Short was ranked No. 3 on PFR’s most recent edition of the Free Agent Power Rankings and was our top interior defender to potentially reach the open market. Unlike former teammate Josh Norman, Short is on record as saying he’s okay with signing the franchise tender. The 28-year-old was the third-best interior defender in the league this season, per Pro Football Focus, and his 87.7 overall score was roughly in line with his 2015 mark, even though he had five less sacks. By PFF’s metrics, only defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Calais Campbell ranked ahead of Short in 2016.

The price tag for a Short extension went up when Fletcher Cox and Muhammad Wilkerson inked lucrative new deals last summer. Carolina would probably like to re-up Short at roughly $15MM per year on a multi-year deal, but it might take an AAV of ~$17MM or more to get something done based on how the market looks now. Even that number could trend upwards depending on how things break in March.

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Ingram, Johnson To Be Franchise Tagged?

Melvin Ingram and Trumaine Johnson are among the players expected to be franchise tagged between now and March 1, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Schefter also lists Kirk Cousins, Le’Veon Bell, Kawann Short as guys who are likely to get the tag. Melvin Ingram (vertical)

While Cousins, Bell, and Short have long been seen as likely franchise candidates, things were less certain when it came to California’s two top free agents. Ingram has racked up 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons, but the Chargers have lots of holes to fill and some believed that the team would direct those resources elsewhere. Johnson, meanwhile, is coming off of a so-so season and the Rams will have to pay a surcharge in order to tag him for a second time.

It’s likely that the latest salary cap projection is playing a role in the decisions. It now sounds like the cap will land somewhere between $166MM and $169MM, up from $155.27MM last year. The one-year franchise tenders are expensive, but they are easier to swallow now that all 32 teams will have a little extra room to work with.

Our most recent edition of the Free Agent Power Rankings had Ingram as the fourth-best free agent on the board. Johnson was outside of the Top 10 but earned honorable mention.

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