It seems there are only two big moves left for the Carolina Panthers to make along their defensive line after they re-signed tackle Kyle Love to a two-year deal on Wednesday morning.
The first is to get defensive tackle Kawann Short to sign the franchise tag the Panthers placed on him this spring. It’s worth $13.5 million and non-exclusive, meaning Short can negotiate with other teams and should he find a better offer, Carolina has the right to either match it or receive two first-round picks in compensation. Short is likely to sign the tag.
The second is to draft an edge-rusher this April. It seems ever-likelier that the Panthers will do so, even with the re-signing of defensive end Charles Johnson, defensive end Mario Addison and veteran defensive end Julius Peppers – and the trading of defensive end Kony Ealy to the Patriots.
When those moves in free agency are coupled with the depth of this particular class of edge-rushers, the Panthers have a little freedom when deciding the time to scoop one up. This ultimately helps with draft decisions the team needs to make on the offensive side.
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While re-signing Love, a dependable interior defensive lineman who played 25 games in two seasons with 35 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks, wasn’t as flashy a move as those of which the Panthers opened free agency, it further shored up the defensive front – and shrank the Carolina to-do list.