CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers have signed defensive tackle Kawann Short to a five-year contract, the team announced Monday. Short is now under contract with the Panthers through the 2021 season. The Panthers previously applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to Short in February.
“KK has been very important to what we’ve been able to accomplish on defense,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “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, who enters his fifth NFL season in 2017, has 17 sacks in the past two seasons (2015-16), third-most among NFL defensive tackles during that time. In 2015, he recorded a career-high 11 sacks, the most by a defensive tackle in team history. Last season, Short tallied six sacks and added blocked a field goal, contributing to a franchise record-tying three by the Panthers in 2016.
“KK consistently affects the quarterback and is strong against the run,” head coach Ron 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.”
In four NFL seasons, Short has started 41 of the 64 regular season games he has played, including starts in all 16 games each of the past two seasons. He has career totals of 176 tackles, 22 sacks, 88 quarterback pressures, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 13 passes defensed. He was selected out of Purdue by the Panthers in the second round (44th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.
He was the seventh player in Panthers history to receive the franchise tag, joining punter Todd Sauerbrun (2003), tackle Jordan Gross (2008), defensive end Julius Peppers (2009), center Ryan Kalil (2011), defensive end Greg Hardy (2014) and cornerback Josh Norman (2016).
Restricted free agent guard Andrew Norwell, and exclusive rights free agents center Tyler Larsen and punter Michael Palardy signed their tenders Monday.