The Way Too Early Top 5 Free Agents for Colts to Target
2. Kawann Short, Defensive Tackle, Carolina Panthers
Having lost shutdown cornerback Josh Norman after a franchise tag standstill last season, the Carolina Panthers could be faced with a similar situation regarding star defensive tackle Kawann Short–who doesn’t necessarily appear willing to accept the team’s franchise tag.
Seeking Fletcher Cox money at $17M per year, the 1x Pro Bowler and 1x 2nd-Team All-Pro could push the limits of his next contract. While the Panthers are armed with $62.7M of cap space in 2017, it remains to be seen whether they’re willing to go to that level with Short.
The former Purdue Boilermaker 2x All-Big Ten selection and East Chicago (IN) Central High School standout could have a homecoming of sorts by signing a lucrative mega-contract with the Colts.
Having started in all 16 games for the Panthers, the former 2013 2nd round pick recorded 55.0 tackles, 6.0 sacks, and a forced fumble this past season.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Short’s overall grade of +87.7 was the 5th best among all ‘interior defenders’, whereas his run defense grade of +85.4 was the 3rd best at his defensive classification respectively.
There is an issue of whether Short, as a 4-3 defensive tackle with the Carolina Panthers, would have the same caliber of success with the Colts. However, the 6’3″, 315 pound defensive lineman has more than enough size, strength, and athleticism to make a smooth transition to being a successful 3-4 defensive lineman.
With veteran Art Jones likely a cap casualty as mentioned, Short could replace his role as the defensive tackle/defensive end of the Colts defense, while providing Indianapolis with an immediate upgrade. Not to mention, added depth should veteran Kendall Langford not return to his prior form–coming off a lingering knee injury that ended his season.