The Panthers placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Short on Feb. 27, a move that gave the team and the potential free agent until July 15 to work toward a long-term deal. Short could have signed the franchise tag and played the 2017 season under it, but instead he signed the five-year deal.
“KK has been very important to what we’ve been able to accomplish on defense,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “In 2013, when we drafted KK, I thought he was the best pass-rushing defensive tackle in the draft, and he’s been able to develop into one of the top young defensive tackles in the NFL. Off the field, KK is a top-notch young man and great representative of our team. I’m absolutely thrilled that we were able to get this deal done.”
Short's 17 sacks over the past two seasons are third among NFL defensive tackles. After two solid seasons to start his career, Short tied for the league lead among defensive tackles with 11 sacks in 2015, shattering the franchise record for sacks by a defensive tackle by four and earning his first Pro Bowl nomination.
A second-round draft choice in 2013 out of Purdue, where he started 50 games, Short totaled five sacks over his first two NFL seasons while helping the Panthers rank in the top 10 in total defense both years. He became a terror for opposing offenses in 2015, when he was twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Month. After a slow start in 2016, Short finished second on the team in sacks to help the Panthers rank second in the league in that category.
Short hasn't missed a game in his four-year career and started every game each of the past two seasons. Over his four seasons, Short has amassed 176 tackles, including 22 sacks, with 88 quarterback pressures, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
“KK consistently affects the quarterback and is strong against the run,” head coach Ron Rivera said. “The mismatches he creates for us on defense force opponents to be aware of him at all times and give us an edge along the defensive line. He’s a great player, but also a quality young man who has the respect of his teammates in the locker room. He’s everything we’re looking for in a Panther.”