Defensive tackle Kawann Short signed a five-year contract with the Carolina Panthers the team announced on Monday. According to a report from ESPN, the deal is worth $80 million over five years and NFL Network reports that Short will receive $40 million over the first four years. The Panthers kept Short from free agency with the non-exclusive franchise tag on Feb. 27, but coach Ron Rivera called him one of the team’s most important players and “too valuable to lose.””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, second-round pick in 2013 out of Purdue, has 22 career sacks.”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.”Short was scheduled to make $13.1 million on the franchise tag with a fully guaranteed contract in 2017.
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