Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has seen a lot of players come and go during his 12 seasons with the organization.
And Davis doesn’t want to see defensive tackle Kawann Short go the way of Josh Norman, the Pro Bowl cornerback who ended up with Washington after the Panthers failed to get a long-term deal done following contentious negotiations.
But Davis believes the Short situation will play out differently, and expressed confidence in general manager Dave Gettleman’s ability to lock up Short with a long-term extension.
“The way the league is right now (salaries) are slotted for players. You’re expected to get a certain (number) based on what you’ve done and what the guys before you have done,” Davis said during a recent interview. “So I’m pretty sure that Mr. Gettleman is a smart man, and he’s proven that. And I’m pretty sure they’ll come to an agreement and he’ll get something worked out. He knows how valuable KK Short is to our football team.”
Short earned his first Pro Bowl berth last season when he finished with 11 sacks, the most by a defensive tackle in Panthers history and tied for the most among NFL defensive tackles in 2015.
Short, 27, is entering the final year of his rookie deal and wants to be among the highest-paid players at his position. Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox reset the market for defensive tackles in June when he signed a six-year, $102.6 million extension, with $63 million guaranteed.
The Panthers placed the franchise tag on Norman this year at a cost of $13.95 million. But Norman was looking for a deal worth about $16 million a year, and Gettleman pulled the tag in April, a week before the draft.
Norman signed with Washington for five years and $75 million two days later.
Gettleman has drawn criticism in league circles for his dealings with Norman and his comments defending his hard-line tactics.
But Davis, who last year signed a two-year extension worth $18 million, defended Gettleman and said tense negotiations are part of the process.
“As players we understand that this thing is a business. We understand that Mr. Gettleman has a job to do,” Davis said. “But at the same time, KK’s agent (Joel Segal), he has a job to do as well. He’s representing his client. And you’ve just got to let it take care of itself. As players we’re responsible for going out and playing at the highest level and playing at the best of our ability.”