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Kawann Short won't play under franchise tag after signing 5-year, $80 million deal with Panthers

The talented young defensive tackle got a big payday.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Kawann Short, who emerged as an All-Pro defensive lineman in four seasons with the Panthers, will continue his NFL career in Charlotte. Short signed a five-year, $80 million contract with Carolina, the only franchise he’s ever known, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal contains $35 million in guaranteed money at signing, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The total amount guaranteed is a whopping $45 million.

The Panthers had applied the franchise tag to Short this offseason, but the two sides were able to work out this long-term deal well in advance of the July deadline.

Short developed into one of the league’s top defensive tackles after being selected by the franchise in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft. He played in all 16 games his rookie year as a space-eating defender, notching 21 quarterback pressures and creating room for blitzing teammates to deliver a league-leading 60 sacks.

That foundation paved the way for a breakout 2015 season; Short recorded a career-high 11 sacks to earn an invitation to the Pro Bowl and Second Team All-Pro honors for the NFC Champion Panthers.

But he wasn’t immune to the team’s post-Super Bowl hangover. Short notched just six sacks last fall, but remained a key presence on the team’s defensive line.

His journey from unheralded high school player to $80-million man is an impressive one. Short had just one college football offer after playing at Central High School in East Chicago, Ind. He attended Purdue University, where he developed from fringe FBS player into a three-time All-Big Ten standout.

He’ll have the chance to build on a decade of improvement as a football player with the Panthers in 2017 and beyond. Short’s solid run from 2015-16 made him one of the league’s most attractive young free agents. Now he’ll be a key part of Carolina’s defense for years to come.