Carolina Panthers

Panthers DT Kawann Short remains optimistic though 2 sides no closer in contract talks

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short, right, answers questions from the media in Spartanburg last month.
Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short, right, answers questions from the media in Spartanburg last month. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Despite little movement in regards to defensive tackle Kawann Short’s contract extension with the Panthers, he and coach Ron Rivera seem optimistic about the future.

A team source indicated the two sides are no closer in their contract talks, and time is running out if general manager Dave Gettleman sticks to his start-of-regular-season deadline.

The Panthers’ regular-season opener is Thursday, Sept. 8 at Denver.

“No update as of right now,” Short told the Observer after Wednesday’s practice. “We’re still taking the time. We still have until the regular season starts, so hopefully we’ll have a decision by then.

“I feel good about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I still have to come out here and play no matter the situation.”

Carolina is looking to extend Short, a second-round pick in 2013, with a contract of about $15 million per year. But in a big offseason for defensive tackles around the league, the price for the best at the position is about $17-18 million per year.

Short is set to make just north of $1 million in 2016, and the Panthers would still have the opportunity to franchise tag him in 2017 at what would likely be around $14 million.

Short, not unlike former Carolina cornerback Josh Norman last season, said he’d be willing to bet on himself in 2016.

“You’ve got to have confidence in yourself, but at the same time…if it happens it’s a blessing,” Short said. “And if not, I still have to work for what I need to work for.”

For his part, Short has had a productive preseason. There have been no indications he’ll take a step back after an 11-sack season in 2015 that set a franchise record at his position.

Rivera said Short’s potential contract extension hasn’t been a distraction.

“Somewhere along the line they’ll get together and they’ll figure it out,” Rivera said. “He’s too important a player for us, and KK likes where he is. We’ll see how it all unfolds.”

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