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Panthers 2021 restructuring begins with release of longtime defensive tackle

By Richard Walker

New general manager Scott Fitterer and second-year coach Matt Rhule began restructuring their 2021 roster on Tuesday when they released veteran defensive tackle Kawann Short.

The move will reportedly clear $8.6 million in salary cap space for the team to make other transactions.

Short, 32, had played in five games the last two seasons due to shoulder injury. Short made 32 1-2 sacks in his first six NFL seasons after he was a second-round pick in the 2013 draft out of Purdue.

The 32 1-2 sacks are a franchise record for a defensive tackle and Short was a NFL all-rookie pick in 2013, an All-Pro selection in 2015 and a Pro Bowler in 2015 and 2018.

In the 2015 season in which he helped the Panthers go 15-1 in the regular season and advance to Super Bowl 50, Short was NFC Defensive player of the week (Week 6) and month (October and December).

Fitterer, Rhule and the Panthers still have decisions to make on many of their own free agents.

There were 17 unrestricted free agents (fullback Alex Armah, wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, running back Mike Davis, cornerback Rasul Douglas, cornerback Corn Elder, long snapper J.J. Jansen, center Tyler Larsen, tight end Chris Manhertz, guard John Miller, tackle Taylor Moton, tackle Russell Okung, guard Chris Reed, wide receiver Curtis Samuel, offensive lineman Michael Schofield, linebacker Julian Stanford, linebacker Adarius Taylor and linebacker Tahir Whitehead) and four restricted free agents (wide receiver Keith Kirkwood, defensive end Efe Obada, tackle Trent Scott and wide receiver Brandon Zylstra) when the season ended.