Where's the money? Defensive tackle

A look at the defensive tackle position in my series on where the money is for the Carolina Panthers:

Total position spending: $8,282,148

Spending vs. league average: 16


Analysis: Here's why general manager Dave Gettleman selected defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short in the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL draft. He got an immediate starter out of Lotulelei and a potential 2014 starter in Short -- for bargain prices. Together they count just over $3 million under the salary cap. To put that in perspective, Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy, arguably the best defensive tackle in the league, counts $15.6 million this season. The Panthers are spending $8.2 million on the entire tackle unit that was considered among the league's upper tier a year ago. In addition to the draft, getting veterans Dwan Edwards and Colin Cole at bargain rates was key. This has allowed the team to overspend at end while it gets the salary cap in order. By the time that's done over the next two years, Carolina will be in position to give Lotulelei and Short the big raises they will command.