The last one didn’t work out so well, but that doesn’t mean the next one won’t.
That’s likely the thought process in the Carolina Panthers’ front office as they decide what to do with the expiring contract of defensive tackle Kawann Short, who’s a strong candidate to receive the team’s franchise tag this offseason.
Of course, that same tool turned into last offseason’s biggest NFL shocker when the Panthers rescinded cornerback Josh Norman’s franchise tag six weeks after they placed it on him.
“Me and Josh are two totally different people,” Short said as the Panthers cleaned out their lockers Monday morning. “We walk two totally different sides of the (street). Two totally different paces. Two totally different directions.”
While that’s true — Norman talks a lot, Short says little — they both said similar things as they headed toward free agency.
Norman loved the Panthers and didn’t want to leave the Carolinas.
And what does Short want?
“To be a Carolina Panther. Forever.”
While Short didn’t come close to matching his 11.0-sack Pro Bowl season of 2015, odds are he’s probably not going to come down much from his original asking price of about $17 million a season.
Believing position players shouldn’t be paid as much as quarterbacks, that’s not a neighborhood general manager Dave Gettleman ever thought about visiting, and it’s hard to think his position has changed much after Short’s 6.0-sack season.
The Panthers don’t want to let Short just walk, though, which makes the tag most likely.
“Every (player) would like to avoid that,” Short said, “but if it happens, it happens. I can’t come here and cuss out the organization because it happened. I’m still going to be professional about the whole situation.”
Teams have a window from Feb. 15 to March 1 to use their franchise tag.
According to Joel Corry of CBS Sports, the tag for defensive tackles is expected to drop a bit in 2017 from $13.6 million to $13.5 million. And while Norman balked at his $13.95 million tag hoping to force the Panthers into giving him what he wanted, Short indicated he wouldn’t play that hard.
“We’d discuss it,” he said when asked if he’d sign the hypothetical tender sooner rather than later, “and then most likely I probably would.”
But not long after word of Short’s willingness started to spread,
his agent “a league source with knowledge of the situation” got in touch with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who wrote:
“(Short) won’t be quickly signing the franchise tag, if the team applies it. Short may not sign the tag at all, which means that absent a long-term deal before July 15, Short may not play in 2017. … Quick acceptance of the one-year franchise tag isn’t an option, and the Panthers would be wise to not assume he’ll sign it quickly.”
So who’s ready for more franchise tag drama?!