With his pocket's flush with cap space, particularly after the Josh Norman departure, Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is looking to pay off the truck. Many have speculated about it, but credible information came out today from Ian Rapoport that the two sides are currently working in earnest to get a deal done.
#Panthers & Pro Bowl DT Kawann Short have begun extension talks, per source. Short's coming payday was considered when Josh Norman was freed— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 9, 2016
Many will attribute the Norman release as the likely catalyst to making this deal happen. The reality though is that this deal was going to happen whether Norman played on his franchise tag or not. The Panthers undoubtedly consider KK Short one of their core players, and we as fans know that the defense works because of the work him and fellow DT Star Lotulelei put in on the interior.
What not having to pay Josh Norman does do, however, is give Gettleman a lot of freedom on how he wants to structure the contract. We are in a good position to front load this deal and provide ourselves options toward the end, not that I anticipate they would exercise them... it is just always good to plan for the unknown if you can.
Bill Voth at Black and Blue Review touched on it... and I agree with him. Investing a ton of money into the defensive backfield just isn't part of the plan for this team and defense. The plan is to rush the passer, get sacks, or force bad throws, and then have DBs that can capitalize and play the ball well to create turnovers. The playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals was a clinic on this... and ideally, that is how we want this defense to function every time.
So yes, we lost a great player in Josh Norman... however, he just isn't that valuable to our defense. He's a valuable player, but paying him the money he ended up getting in Washington isn't efficient for us. We are better served spreading that money around to other guys that we want to keep, that paying Josh Norman would have prevented or made difficult.