Carolina Panthers: 5 potential casualties if salary cap reduced in 2021

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Kawann Short, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Kawann Short /

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Carolina Panthers Player No. 1: Kawann Short (DT)

Let’s start with the most obvious member of the Carolina Panthers who could be cut to save much-needed salary-cap space. Kawann Short has been a tremendous player during his time with the organization. But he is coming off a serious injury that ended his 2019 season early.

How the defensive tackle fares next season will have huge ramifications on his future with the Panthers. But even if he plays to the level the former second-round pick is capable of. Even that might not be enough for him to see out the final year of his lucrative deal.

Short will make a base salary of $12 million in 2021. But his cap hit will be an eye-watering $20.83 million. Given the direction that Carolina has gone down this offseason. It appears highly unlikely that the Pro Bowler will be kept on with this sort of financial commitment.

Releasing Short would save the Panthers around $9 million in cap space. And this might be too tempting to ignore.

There is a chance the player can come to a restructured agreement with the franchise if there is a mutual interest. But he might see this as an opportunity to finish his career on a team with a better chance of mounting a postseason push.

Short has been an incredible servant to the organization on his way to 32.5 sacks, 274 combined tackles, 164 solo tackles, 87 quarterback hits, nine forced fumbles, 12 pass deflections, and 59 tackles for loss. This exceptional production will ensure he is one of the hottest commodities on the free-agent market next spring if the two parties go their separate ways.