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What Contract Might the Carolina Panthers Have to Offer to Keep Kawann Short?

Josh Norman isn't the only defensive player on the Carolina Panthers who is in line for a big raise. Kawann Short is entering his final year of his contract and the Panthers may try to work out a long-term deal this offseason. Brandon Croce takes a look at the market and what type of contract the team may need to offer to keep the defensive tackle.

Similar to last offseason, the Carolina Panthers are expecting to hand out major contract extensions for some of their key players, which could include defensive tackle Kawann Short. The former second round pick is entering his final season of his rookie contract and is coming off a career season.

He finished the year with 55 tackles and 11 sacks in the regular season, adding two more in the playoffs. He also had four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries for the Panthers' defense. He was recognized for his play with a number of awards including selections as a first-team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl as well as winning NFC Defensive Player of the Month twice (October and December).

The defensive tackle from Purdue had an incredible season and the team may want to lock him up long term before he reaches free agency next offseason. The question then becomes what might the team need to offer to keep him in Carolina.

These are the top contracts currently in the NFL for defensive tackles and it would be safe to say a new contract for Short would be somewhere in this ballpark.

Name Contract Length Total Contract Value Guaranteed Amount Average Salary
Ndamukong Suh 6 $114,375,000 $59,955,000 $19,062,500
Marcell Dareus 6 $96,574,000 $60,000,000 $16,095,686
Gerald McCoy 6 $95,200,000 $51,500,000 $15,866,667
Geno Atkins 5 $53,327,000 $15,000,000 $10,665,400
Corey Liuget 5 $51,250,000 $30,477,000 $10,250,000
Damon Harrison 5 $46,250,000 $24,000,000 $9,250,000

Last offseason was the year of the defensive tackle as Ndamukong Suh and Marcell Dareus received contracts that totaled over $200 million dollars combined. While Suh received the greater total contract value at just under $115 million, Dareus received the greater guaranteed amount at $60 million. The guaranteed total for Dareus is the fifth highest in the NFL and tied with quarterback Cam Newton.

This offseason was much different as the biggest contract handed out went to Damon Harrison who received a five-year, $46.25 million dollar contract from the NY Giants.

It would be safe to say that after the performance Short had last year, he would be considered one of the Top 5 players at his position. If he is compensated like that, he would expect to have an average salary most likely between $10 and $15 million dollars per year. This would be a significant increase from the $1,473,192 cap hit he is expected to have in 2016.

The biggest positive is that the Panthers should have the cap space to offer this kind of salary to the defensive tackle. According to NFLPA, the Panthers still have over $20 million dollars to use and this amount already takes into account Josh Norman's franchise tag.

The Panthers have a rising star in Kawann Short and should try their best to get him signed this offseason before his price tag goes any higher or he hits the open market.

All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.com, unless otherwise noted.

Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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