Short signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Panthers on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. The Panthers had applied a $13.1 million franchise tag on Short in February, but the defensive tackle was able to pick up some more financial security by brokering a long-term deal before the July deadline. With a combined 110 stops and 17 sacks over the last two seasons, Short has established himself as one of the NFL's top interior tackles and should have a few prime years left in him as he prepares for his age-28 campaign.
Short has received the Panthers' franchise tag, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Short and the Panthers will now have until July 15 to come to terms on a long-term extension, otherwise he'll play next season under a one-year tender worth the average of the top five defensive-tackle salaries from last season. At 28 years old, Short has recorded 55 tackles in consecutive seasons, and although his sack total dropped from 11 to six this past term, he remains one of the league's best interior defensive linemen, thus warranting his franchise tag designation.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the team will "probably have to tag" Short, David Newton of ESPN reports. Short's numbers dropped in 2016 from his breakout 2015 campaign, but he still recorded 55 tackles and 6.0 sacks as a defensive tackle. Carolina will likely try to strike a long term deal with the pro-bowl lineman, but in the event they aren't able to reach an agreement the team isn't expected to let him hit free agency. Applying the franchise tag on Short would secure him for the 2017 season and allow the team to continue working with him on a longer term contract.
Short finished this season with 55 tackles (30 solo) and six sacks in 16 games played. Short was honored with a Pro-Bowl selection after posting 11 sacks during his breakout 2015 campaign, which, along with his pursuit of a long-term contract extension, increased expectations of him going into this season. Although Short matched his 2015 tackle total this term, his one sack through Carolina's first six games contributed toward a significant decline in that category. Nonetheless, after finishing the season strong, Short remains arguably the Panthers' biggest offseason priority. Whether that amounts to the 27-year-old securing a multi-year deal with the team or being franchise tagged remains to be seen, but Short's stated desire to stay in Carolina bodes well for the parties reaching an agreement.
Short registered three tackles (all solo) and two sacks Sunday against the Chargers. Short's two quarterback takedowns Sunday now give him five sacks on the current campaign. While that pales in comparison to last season's 11, it was at least encouraging to see Short back at his best Sunday.