5 Panthers who look primed for long-term deals through Week 5

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Zach Kerr
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Zach Kerr /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Zach Kerr /

Zach Kerr – Carolina Panthers DT

Zach Kerr has probably seen more reps than expected thanks to the lingering injury issues surrounding Kawann Short. But this seems to have been the making of him and the hopes are positive regarding his long-term aspirations with the Carolina Panthers.

Kerr has been a commanding force on the interior, coming up with some noticeable plays when called upon. He has been on the field for 43 percent of the Panthers’ defensive snaps through five weeks and this might increase going forward if Short cannot get back to full fitness at any stage.

The former Delaware standout signed a two-year, $3 million deal that included just $500,000 guaranteed. But it might already be time for the Panthers to look at offering Kerr an extension to solidify their depth for the foreseeable future.

There appears little chance that Short is going to be kept around with his $20.83 million salary-cap hit in 2021. This might mean Carolina explores the free-agent market or the NFL Draft for a possible replacement. But in Kerr, the answer to this riddle might be staring them in the face.

Kerr has never been seen as a starter during his career so far. However, given the way he has adjusted to life in Carolina, that could change sooner rather than later.