Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman thought his contractual stand against former cornerback Josh Norman would make his general thoughts on player contracts clear. Yet, here we are amid another contentious situation over money, this time between the Panthers and star defensive tackle Kawann Short.
On Tuesday, head coach Ron Rivera noted that the new six-year, $103 million contract extension signed by Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Coxwill likely be a roadblock for the Panthers in their quest to lock Short up long-term. When talented players are up for new deals, they want a salary comparable to, or better than their counterparts. This should be routine for us all by now.
"I'd like to think agents have figured out they can't scare me; they can't squeeze me," Gettleman told Black and Blue Review on Wednesday. "I'm not going to panic. It's a waste of time."
He added: "I can never fault a guy, when he's getting what we call the first kick of the can."
Gettleman is not against players pushing to earn top dollar, but he has drawn the line in the sand when asked to exceed his perception of value. While that might not seem fair to a lot of players -- or wise, in some respects -- the open market will eventually heal all wounds. There was a team willing to pay Josh Norman exactly what he wanted. There will be a team this winter that, barring any significant injury, will place Short among the highest-paid defensive tackles in football. At the moment, that means a contract worth between $17.1 and $19.062 million per season -- also known as franchise quarterback money.
General managers who draft well can be punished, too, and this is the downside of Gettleman hitting on several talented defensive linemen over the past three seasons. Oddly enough, it was with Short in mind that Gettleman balked on trying to sign Norman. He knew that this would be a costly proposition, but apparently did not earmark that much money in the budget.
Fans will lean hard on Gettleman to get an extension done, though he is just doing what most of the NFL's best general managers do -- remaining steadfast in the face of contract demands, instead focusing on churning out new talent. The Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Broncos and others have done well in identifying the key pieces within their budget and letting the rest of the chips fall where they may. The Panthers will be no different.