The Carolina Panthers have signed star defensive lineman Kawann Short to a five-year deal that will keep him in Carolina through the 2021 season, the team announced Monday.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Short’s deal averages $16 million a year and totals $80 million.
The Panthers used the non-exclusive franchise tag on Short on Feb. 27 and had until July 15 to sign him to a long-term contract.
“KK has been very important to what we’ve been able to accomplish on defense,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “In 2013, when we drafted KK, I thought he was the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the draft, and he’s been able to develop into one of the top young defensive tackles in the NFL. Off the field, KK is a top-notch young man and great representative of our team. I’m absolutely thrilled that we were able to get this deal done.”
Short, whose production dropped from a team-high 11 sacks in 2015 to six this past season, said he wanted to remain with the Panthers even if it meant the franchise tag.
Coach Ron Rivera also has said that the former Purdue star was “too important of a player” for Carolina not to re-sign.
“KK consistently affects the quarterback and is strong against the run,” Rivera said. “The mismatches he creates for us on defense force opponents to be aware of him at all times and give us an edge along the defensive line. He’s a great player, but also a quality young man who has the respect of his teammates in the locker room. He’s everything we’re looking for in a Panther.”
Short, selected in the second-round of the 2013 draft, has 22 career sacks, 179 tackles, six forced fumbles and five fumble returns.