Panthers DT Short: I would 'probably' sign franchise tag

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short said he would ''probably'' sign a franchise tag offer if the team extended him one this offseason.

Short, who just wrapped up his fourth NFL season, will become an unrestricted free agent on March 9.

''I wouldn't fight it or anything,'' Short said of the franchise tag.

The Panthers tried to lock up Short to a long-term contract last offseason, but couldn't come to terms on an agreement in part because the $17 million-a-year contract that Fletcher Cox received from the Philadelphia Eagles raised the asking price for high-level defensive tackles.

Short wound up playing the 2016 season under the final year of his rookie contract.

The franchise tag for defensive tackles last season was $13.6 million and is expected to increase slightly next season.

Short said that while ''everybody would like to avoid'' the franchise tag, he also added ''if it happens, it happens.''

''I can't avoid that,'' Short said. ''I can't come here and cuss out the organization. I'm still going to be professional about the whole situation.''

Short had 55 tackles, 11 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2015, twice earning NFC Defensive Player of the Month and being selected second-team All-Pro. This past season he had the same number of tackles, but only six sacks and one forced fumble as the Panthers finished with a 6-10 record.

The Panthers haven't had great luck with the franchise tag.

General manager Dave Gettleman used the franchise tag on All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman last offseason. However, Norman balked at signing it and the Panthers moved on three weeks later by surprisingly announcing they were rescinding Norman's franchise tag offer, thus allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. He signed a six-year, $72 million contract with the Washington Redskins.

Short made it clear he didn't plan to follow in Norman's footsteps.

''Me and Josh are two totally different people,'' Short said. ''We walk two totally different sides of the street, two totally different directions. Me and Josh are not the same. ... He could have stayed here if he wanted to. He could have (signed) the franchise tag.''

Short said ideally he wants to return to the Panthers next season.

''I like it here,'' Short said. ''They took a chance on me coming out of the draft, so hopefully things work out.''

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