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Don't expect Kawann Short's situation to play out like Josh Norman's did

Placing the franchise tag on Kawann Short allows the Panthers time to negotiate a long-term deal. Grant Halverson/Getty Images

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Now that the Carolina Panthers officially have placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short, the Josh Norman analogies will begin.

In other words, will Short sign the tag?

Norman never did, and general manager Dave Gettleman ultimately rescinded the tag and let the Pro Bowl cornerback move on to Washington in free agency.

As he cleaned out his locker the day after the season finale, Short said that he probably would sign the tag. He said he and Norman were "two totally different people."

"We walk two totally different sides of the street, at two totally different paces, in two totally different directions," he said. "Me and Josh are not the same."

Pro Football Talk, citing a source with knowledge of the situation, said the 2013 second-round draft pick "would not sign the tag quickly, if at all."

The ultimate goal is to sign Short to a long-term deal. The Panthers have until July 15 to do that. Using the tag just buys them more time to negotiate.

But will any amount of time close the apparent wide gap that's between the two sides? With Norman, Gettleman came to the conclusion the gap was too wide, and when the cornerback didn’t report for voluntary offseason workouts, he cut ties with him.

It’s hard to imagine Gettleman doing that again. First, he values defensive linemen -- he calls them "hog mollies" -- more than cornerbacks. He believes pressure by the front seven will make those on the back end look good.

Short has become one of the best interior linemen in the league at disrupting the quarterback, recording 16 sacks over the past two seasons.

If you need proof about where Gettleman’s priorities are, look at what he’s done over the past 24 hours.

It started with Sunday’s announcement that defensive end Mario Addison had been re-signed to a three-year deal worth a reported $22.5 million.

By midday Monday, defensive end Wes Horton re-signed to a two-year deal.

A few hours later, it was announced that Short had been given the franchise tag. Hog molly heaven.

In all likelihood, the Panthers will add another end in the draft. The only question that remains is whether 30-year-old Charles Johnson, second on the team’s all-time sack list, will be re-signed.

If there's a discounted price, he will.

But locking down Short and Addison was a priority and ensures the team’s top two sack leaders over the past three years remained on the roster.

Even if Short doesn’t sign the tag immediately, it’s doubtful he would sit out the season. And if Gettleman doesn’t work out a long-term deal, it’s highly doubtful he would consider rescinding the tag if it remained unsigned.

As Carolina coach Ron Rivera has said repeatedly, Short is "too important a player for us" not to get a long-term deal done.

Short wants a deal in the range of $17 million a year that the Philadelphia Eagles gave Fletcher Cox a year ago. Statistically, he can make that argument.

Cox has 20 sacks over the past three years. Short has 20.5.

But Short doesn’t hold all the cards. The Panthers drafted tackle Vernon Butler in the first round last year. If he proves to be the pass rusher Gettleman envisions, then placing him beside 2013 first-round pick Star Lotulelei could make Short expendable next year unless he has an unbelievable 2017 season.

But for now, the Panthers are more than happy to have Short, Lotulelei and Butler as part of a four-man rotation in 2017.

Even if Short holds out, this won’t turn into a situation like Norman’s did last offseason.