In his four-year NFL career, Kawann Short has worked his way up the ladder each season. He went from being a part-time player to a part-time starter to a full-time starter and star over his first three seasons, then maintained his excellent level of play in 2016, his fourth year in the league.
Now, he’s set to hit free agency for the first time, and he’ll undoubtedly be looking for a nice bump in pay. If Panthers coach Ron Rivera is to be believed, Short’s going to get a hefty raise, but won’t get much security to go along with it.
Rivera told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the team will probably have to use the franchise tag on Short this offseason.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera conceded on ESPN’s NFL Insiders that Carolina “probably will have to tag” free-agent-to-be DT Kawann Short.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 2, 2017
The franchise tag pays a player the average salary of the five highest-paid players at his position. The salary for the tag is set before the start of the new league year. Last year’s tag for defensive tackles was worth $13.615 million, and that number is sure to go up for the 2017 season. That’s actually almost three times as much as Short has earned to this point in his career, but the tag would guarantee Short nothing beyond the 2017 campaign.
Unsurprisingly, he’d like to avoid having to be subjected to the tag.
“Everybody would like to avoid that,” Short said last month, per the Charlotte Observer. “If it happens, it happens. I can’t come here and cuss out the organization because it happened. I need to be professional about the whole situation.”
If Short wants a long-term deal, he’ll presumably be seeking one near the top of the defensive tackle market. How willing the Panthers are to pay him at that rate obviously remains to be seen.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Ron Rivera says Panthers will ‘probably have to tag’ Kawann Short