Kawann Short/Panthers Contract Negotiations & Why Fans Need To R-E-L-A-X

DSC03305Given I haven’t posted in my blog in over a year you would think my first post back would recap my 2015 season & experience right? Nope.

While I do still plan on recapping last season before we get into training camp and attempt to keep up with this page more frequently to avoid long rambling posts.

I thought why not start with something that is fresh in everyone’s minds right now and that is the Kawann Short contract negotiations currently going on with the Panthers.

The reason I thought this would be an appropriate post is due to some of the panic that seems to be trickling through Panther Nation over these negotiations.

Mainly due to Short skipping OTA voluntary workouts to send a “message” to the team about what him & his agent think he should be paid. Which was followed up soon after by the Eagles paying DT Fletcher Cox a ridiculous sum to the tune of 6 years $103M with $63M guaranteed and a $17.2M a year average.

Which made the waters even murkier in getting a long term deal done as quoted by Head Coach Ron Rivera via Bill Voth.

When asked about Cox’ deal, Rivera on Tuesday admitted “it probably will” complicate negotiations between Short and the Panthers.


This in turn led to many people the automatic assumption “well this is Short’s last year in a Panthers uniform”. While others continue to run with the “well Gettleman is going to run another superstar out of town” or “does Gettleman know what he is doing when it comes to contracts?” comments.

What do I say? or61d

R-E-L-A-X. It’s not the end of the world and it is not the end of Kawann Short in a Panthers uniform.

Let’s give a credit where it is due. Gettleman is a great GM. His draft classes, undrafted free agent pick ups, and philosophy in free agency has helped build this team into a yearly contender.

While sure some situations could have been handled better the overall plan has produced results. He has probably forgotten more than any of us couch GM’s know about the business of football.

There are too many people are ready to jump to conclusions before researching the options and chips Gettleman holds in the teams corner in this negotiation and going into a panic. So let’s review a couple things before really diving into it.

It was reported by Bill Voth at Black and Blue Review that Gettleman is looking for around a $15M a year max on Kawann.

The sense inside the building is general manager Dave Gettleman won’t go much further than $15 million per season.


While Kawann and his agent is seeking something similar to what Cox got or more which would be anywhere from $17.5M to $19M a year with a $60+M guarantee.

Short’s side, according to a source, is currently looking for an extension similar to the one Cox just landed. That’s a decent distance from how high Gettleman is willing to go, a number that likely doesn’t go much further than $15 million per season.


Crazy right? Given our franchise MVP QB only makes $20.8M a year with $60M guaranteed.

Next you want to consider how old Kawann currently is. Which he is 27 years old and was born in February. The average NFL age for when a lot of players production start’s declining is around 30.

Now what do we know when it comes to Gettleman and his contract negotiations? He sets a value on players and their positions. Figures out a value that is in the best interest of the team and doesn’t budge much if at all on that number.

Meaning that the report of around $15M is probably a pretty firm number. As Gettleman was quoted today in a interview with Bill Voth at Black and Blue Review.

“The biggest responsibility I have is putting a value on a player. You value the player — this is what he’s worth, and that’s where it is,” he said. “You can’t shop like a drunken sailor, and we’re not going to.”

“The problem is in the current NFL you can’t keep everybody,” Gettleman said. “So you have to step back and identify who you need to have. Not need, but who you most want to keep, and see if you can get deals done with those people.”

“I’d like to think agents have figured out they can’t scare me; they can’t squeeze me. I’m not going to panic. I’m not going to give money away. It’s a waste of time,” Gettleman said.


Unless Kawann is willing to find a middle ground to stay in Carolina with Gettleman then it is unlikely a deal get’s done especially at the price they are seeking. Is Kawann Short worth more than Fletcher Cox? Absolutely.

The problem is your never one player away and Gettleman preaches that yearly not to buy into that theory of thinking or the idea of mortgaging the Panthers long term stability on one player.kk1

You don’t let other teams dictate your spending habits either. Teams that over spend find themselves in trouble and you have to account so much each year for injuries, draft picks, and other upcoming deals that need to be reached.

Now that we have reviewed that let’s dive into the teams options that they are currently holding in their corner.

Something that is not brought up enough in your main news articles. Some of which make you feel like the Panthers have no options or are in some kinda ultimatum with their choice with Short.

The Franchise Tag. The Panthers could realistically use the tag twice on Kawann prolonging his time in Carolina until the 2019 off-season based off current numbers.

Yes the Panthers do not have a good history with the tag even up to most recently with rescinding Josh Norman’s tag. So what’s the difference in Kawann & Norman? That answer is positional value.

It has been long noticed by Panthers fans since Gettleman arrived in Charlotte that he believes a strong defensive line or “hogmollies” & a linebacker group can mask and alleviate problems in your secondary and that he values those positions much more than secondary players.

As evident by who we have played back there since 2013. Drayton Florance, Robert Lester, Melvin White, Charles Tillman, Roman Harper, Mike Mitchell, and several others. Most of which came from the undrafted free agents or free agents that cost very little to bring in.

So let’s say the Panthers do not get a deal done this off-season with Short. Kawann would then play the final year of his rookie deal for $1,473,192. Then in 2017 they could place the exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag on KK.

  • An “exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of a date in April of the current year in which the tag will apply, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. The player’s team has all the negotiating rights to the exclusive player.
  • A “non-exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five cap hits at the player’s position for the previous five years applied to the current salary cap, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

In 2016 the tag for a DT cost $13,615,000. So let’s say that number doesn’t jump too much in 2017. The Panthers would then be paying Kawann right around $13,615,000 or a little more than that in 2017. That is much cheaper than the $17.5M to $19M he and his agent are seeking and under the $15M benchmark Gettleman is setting.

In 2018 the Panthers could tag Kawann again which would lead to a 120% increase in the tag price based off of his previous years salary. That is if the 120% increase is greater than the average top 5 salaries at the position which could change if the defensive tackle tag increases in 2018.

Even if it increased to $15+M top 5 average in 2018 it would be lesser than the 120% increase in 2018.

Which the tag would be around $16,338,000 for the 2018 season with the current figure and based of the previous years salary with the 120% increase. Then the team could let him walk in the 2019 off-season if a deal hasn’t been struck in those two off-seasons.

  • 2016 – $1,473,192
  • 2017 – $13,615,000 (franchise tag)
  • 2018 – $16,338,000 (franchise tag)
  • Total cap cost – $31,426,192

By the time the 2019 off-season rolls around Kawann will be 30 years old. In those 3 seasons you retain his services you can do several things. Draft another DT, sign Star to a long term contract who’s contract isn’t due until the 2018 off-season, and our newest DT Vernon Butler will have 3 seasons under his belt with a 5th year option in Gettleman’s back pocket.

Some of you may say “well that is a lot of cap to spend in 2018 for a DT”. True that is a bit higher than the value Gettleman is currently saying he will pay yearly for Short. Take into consideration the increasing salary cap that has almost yearly gone up about $10M a year with that though.

kk2If you take that into consideration and it continues to hold steady which most expect it to. The cap could increase to around $175.27 in the 2018 off-season from it’s current $155.27. A $20M increase which I am sure most GM’s in the NFL are taking account of.

Now there is a chance the Panthers go the non-exclusive route with the tag like with Norman. In which case Short could negotiate with other teams to try and get what he is seeking. The great thing about the non-exclusive tag is the catch behind it.

Meaning sure a team could sign Short to the $100+M, $17.5M to $19M yearly, and $60+M guarantee he is seeking under that tag but in doing so they will be giving up two first round picks. Along with a huge chunk of their cap.

Which the long time talent scout and draft master GM could then turn around and use on another young first round Defensive Tackle with a 5th year option included minus the large cap hit.

Now the only catch in this is if the tag jumps up to the $15,758,050 thanks to the Eagles Fletcher Cox deal and Buccaneers Gerald McCoy deal which put both into the top 5 in defensive tackles average this year. Which is still at Gettleman’s benchmark number. Despite that jump I can still see Gettleman using at the very least the 2017 tag.

The tag is based off the average of the top 5 salaries from the previous year at the position. I used the online calculator at Calculator Soup to come up with the  $15,758,050 number based off the top 5 at Defensive Tackle since the McCoy & Cox deals. Here is the top 5 averages currently based off Spotrac.

  • Ndamukong Suh – $19,062,500
  • Fletcher Cox – $17,100,000
  • Marcell Dareus – $16,095,686
  • Gerald McCoy – $15,866,667
  • Geno Atkins – $10,665,400

I still believe the 2018 tag would still be in play mainly due to the 2018 salary cap increase to about $175.27M which would provide a bit more breathing room to use a extra couple million if both continue to increase especially the salary cap.

Despite it possibly ballooning to a possible $18,909,660 once you figure up the 120% based off the $15,758,050 number but if that happens I think it could diminish the chances they use the 2018 tag significantly .

If a team uses a second franchise tag that number is figured out by which number is greater the top 5 average at the position or the 120% based off of the previous years salary. Which in most cases the 120% will always be greater than the previous years salary.

If this increase in the tag numbers actually happens in 2017 those Kawann tag numbers could change to this.

  • 2016 – $1,473,192
  • 2017 – $15,758,050 (franchise tag)
  • 2018 – $18,909,660 (franchise tag)
  • Total cap cost – $36,140,902

Which is still much cheaper than the $60+M guarantee he is seeking. Regardless the 2017 tag would allow us two full seasons with Short in 2016 & 2017 and the ability to not to let him go until he is 29 years old.

Using one or two tags could hinge on the increase from 2016 tags to 2017 tags. Since the Defensive Tackle jumped from $11.193M in 2015 to $13.615M in 2016.

This is not the most ideal route for either party to go and it may leave Short sour if it happened. This is the reality of the situation though. If Short & his agent want to play hardball these are the chips currently in the teams corner to prolong his stay in Carolina without the long term guarantees he is looking for.

I am sure Gettleman knows this. Which is why unlike with the Norman situation the player and positional value will be too good and important to worry about him rescinding the tag(s) on Short. That is should this negotiation devolve into this scenario.


That being said this is my view on why Panthers fans should R-E-L-A-X about the negotiations with Gettleman and Short. So what do you guys think? Am I wrong or right? If you find flaws in my logic or in my opinion let me hear them below and as always KEEP POUNDING!







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