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Kawann Short gets $16 million per year from the Panthers

This makes Gerald McCoy’s contract look like an absolute bargain.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers haver re-signed defensive tackle Kawann Short to a five-year deal, after using the franchise tag on him. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that deal is worth $80 million in total. And Pro Football Talk reports Short will get a whopping $40 million in his first two years with the team.

Short has been with the Panthers for four years, and has put up 22 sacks in that time. Which is not an overwhelming amount by any means, even by the standards of defensive tackles, a position where even the best struggle to get double-digit sacks in any given season.

Incidentally, this contract makes the Bucs’ re-signing Gerald McCoy to a six-year, $95 million extension toward the end of 2014 look genius. McCoy’s a better and more productive player than Short, and yet he got less than $16 million per year.

Sure, the overall cap space is higher now so contracts get more expensive overall, but McCoy is under contract for five more seasons (including 2017), at about $13 million per year — that’s an absurdly low number compared to the top of the defensive tackle market.

See also: Ndamukong Suh, who has been less productive than McCoy since signing his much more expensive $19 million per year deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

That, incidentally, is also how you create long-term cap space: you re-sign your expensive players early, so you’re not forced to break the bank to retain their services.