The Carolina Panthers have been spending a lot of money in free agency this year. This trend continued when it was announced earlier today by Adam Schefter that Kawann Short re-signed for five years $80.5 million with $35 million guaranteed. Short will get $40 million over his first two years, and average 16 million per year. Short scored a lucrative deal, similar to Olivier Vernon and Von Miller. While Short is an All-Pro defensive tackle is he really worth that much?
In his breakout season in 2015, Short had 11 sacks, and three forced fumbles. He ended the season being named to the Pro Bowl, and second team All-Pro. After the season Short was asking for a deal similar to Fletcher Cox‘s 6 year $102.5 million deal. This season, Short along with the entire Panthers’ squad had a down year. Short had just six sacks, and one forced fumble. Short could have played the entire season under the franchise tag this year. General Manager, Dave Gettleman opted to pay him a max deal. However, it seems like the Panthers went through something similar last year.
Last year in free agency the Panthers shocked the world by letting All-Pro, and fan favorite corner Josh Norman go. Norman was asking for a deal almost identical to Shorts’, but didn’t get it. Gettleman has made it clear that he sees more value in Short than Norman. Some fans believed that Norman didn’t deserve a max deal after only one year of production, and him being 28 at the time. Short is also 28, and has had one year of great production. Norman had hinted at signing his franchise tag before Gettleman jerked it away, but Short never acted the same. This is just more proof to the pudding of Gettleman’s affection for players who play on the defensive line.
After letting Norman walk right before the NBA draft it made sense to draft a cornerback to replace him. Instead Dave Gettleman, drafted defensive tackle Vernon Butler. While Butler had some shining moments as a rookie it wasn’t an urgent need for the team considering they had just signed defensive tackle Paul Soliai. Fast forward to this year for the second free agency period in a row Gettleman has bended over backwards to restructure Charles Johnson‘s contract to keep him in Carolina. Even though Charles Johnson’s numbers have monumentally dipped over the past couple of seasons after getting a max deal. Along with keeping veterans some draft experts still believe that the Panthers will draft defensive linemen Solomon Thomas out of Stanford with the eighth overall pick. Along with keeping Charles Johnson the Panthers also brought back Julius Peppers for what will more than likely be his last year. Peppers was a life-long Panther, but so was recently retired Steve Smith. Gettleman stated that Smith retiring a Panther was “above his pay grade”. Which translates to he’s not a defensive tackle so Gettleman doesn’t look at him the same way.
Gettleman let Norman walk on his idea of there being “no shutdown corners”. This move came into repeated question when both Julio Jones and Drew Brees torched the Panthers secondary early on in the season. Now this year to hand Kawann Short his money Gettleman let All-Pro Mike Tolbert go, and wide receiver Tedd Ginn Jr. to save money. Dave Gettleman has been highly criticized by fans for the last couple of seasons, and if Short doesn’t prove to be worth every dollar Dave Gettleman could be out of a job.