CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As usual lots of good Twitter questions on the Carolina Panthers, but I could only choose one for the Saturday mailbag.
This one intrigued me:
@DNewtonespn if you were gettleman who would you lock up first Short or Norman?— Anthony (@ArticPanther86) November 6, 2015
@DNewtonESPN: In many ways this is simple. Unless general manager Dave Gettleman doesn’t want to pay the $10 million plus a year that Josh Norman will demand, you have to re-sign the cornerback first. Norman will become a free agent after the season. Defensive tackle Kawann Short is signed through 2016. Ideally, the Panthers would want to get a long-term deal for both before next season. They can’t use the fifth-year option on Short like they can tackle Star Lotulelei because Short was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft. The option is good only for first-rounders, which Lotulelei was in 2013. Now if you had asked this in an either/or scenario, as in they can only sign one, I’d go with Short. It all begins up front and defensive tackles as versatile as Short are a rare commodity. That there could be concern about the long-term durability of Lotulelei because of the foot injury that sidelined him for the NFC playoff game last season and the first two games this season makes eventually locking Short down long-term more important. That the Panthers already have quarterback Cam Newton, linebacker Luke Kuechly, linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen extended and the salary cap under control, the opportunity to sign both exists.