Carolina Panthers

Looking for bigger contract, Panthers’ Kawann Short skipping OTAs

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short walks to practice on Thursday, October 29, 2015.
Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short walks to practice on Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Primed for a contract extension this offseason, Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short missed last week’s organized team activities sessions and will likely miss this week’s, too, in what appears to be an effort to drive contract talks.

Short, a former second-round pick entering his fourth season, has been labeled as a priority for the Panthers to work out an extension before the 2016 season. But talks between Short’s representatives and the Panthers had not begun as of two weeks ago, according to a source, though they were expected to at some point this month.

Short’s absence from OTAs, which was first reported by Black and Blue Review as contract-related, comes as a surprise since he attended the first week of OTAs.

A team source told the Observer that Short, who is slated to make just north of $1 million in 2016, is expected to attend the three-day mandatory veteran minicamp next week. Skipping all three days would cost him $76,580.

“If it happens, it happens, but we haven’t focused on that,” Short told reporters last month at OTAs. “I’ve still got a lot I need to do. I’ve put myself in the position, but at the same time, I’m not where I want to be. We’re not rushing the issue.”

This isn’t the first contract-related issue the Panthers have faced this offseason. Cornerback Josh Norman threatened to hold out if he didn’t receive a long-term deal after the Panthers used the franchise tag on him. General manager Dave Gettleman rescinded the tag after Norman didn’t sign it, refusing to go into summer workouts without a plan in place.

Short had a big season in 2015, when he totaled 11 sacks to break the franchise record for a defensive tackle. He tied Geno Atkins (Bengals) and Aaron Donald (Rams) for the most in the NFL at the position last season.

Donald is still on his rookie deal, and Atkins signed a five-year deal in 2013 worth $53.3 million. Three years after Atkins’ deal, Short will certainly be looking for more money as the market has changed.

The starting point for Short’s new deal would seem to be around $15 million per year. That would be close to Marcell Dareus’ six-year, $96.57 million deal with the Bills from last year and above Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy. But contract negotiations this offseason might have complicated those plans.

After a standout season with the Super Bowl champion Broncos, Malik Jackson signed a five-year deal worth as much as $90 million with the Jaguars this offseason. And Philadelphia’s Fletcher Cox also is holding out for a more lucrative deal.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9