Ron Rivera: Kawann Short "too important" for us not to get long-term deal done

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said on Wednesday that Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short is "too important a player for us" not to get a long-term deal done.

Short tied Cincinnati's Geno Atkins and Aaron Donald of the Rams for the league lead in sacks by a tackle with 11 last season.

"Somewhere along the line, those are good guys, they'll figure it out," Rivera said following practice. "I believe they will. He's too important a player for us and KK likes where he is. We'll see where it all unfolds."

When that might be, Rivera had no idea.

Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman doesn't negotiate once the season begins. There are 15 days between now and the September 8 opener at Denver, a rematch of Super Bowl 50.

Talk of Short's contract have been so quiet that Rivera hadn't been asked about negotiations for weeks until Wednesday.

Short and his representation are believed to be looking for a mulityear deal in the $17 million a year range that Philadelphia's Fletcher Cox got during the offseason. The Panthers are believed to be in the $14 to $15 million range.

The sixth-highest paid defensive tackle is Jacksonville's Malik Jackson, who is making $14.25 million a year.

Short said at the beginning of training camp that "it's not about the contract, it's about helping this team.''

Rivera said the contract has not been a distraction during training camp.

"It's gone very well," he said. "He's done some really nice things, and not just what you see in practice and in games, but overall he's really done some nice things."

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