There is little doubting what defensive tackle Kawann Short brings to the table. He is a formidable defensive lineman who has caused havoc during his time in the NFL.
The Carolina Panthers were forced to put him on injured reserve early in 2019 due to a torn rotator cuff. But he is expected to come back healthy next season and there is real hope Short can form an impressive partnership on the defensive interior alongside No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown.
The former second-round pick is comfortably the highest earner on the Panthers’ roster heading into 2020. Short is going to make $12.5 million in base salary and count an eye-popping $19.46 million against the team’s salary cap.
That sort of financial commitment demands elite production. And it remains to be seen whether Short is up to the task. He is 31-years-old and coming off a significant injury. This leaves some lingering doubts as to whether or not he can get back to the player of old.
If the player performs below the level previously seen, then it will be his last season with the franchise. Short is due to count $20.83 million on the Panthers salary cap in 2021 and this is just not a viable amount of money for the team to be spending on one player when so many other areas need reinforcement.
Should the Panthers decide to part ways with Short, it would save them around $9 million next year. That is going to be an enticing proposition if the player does not provide the sort of production expected from one of the more elite defensive tackles in the NFL.