Kawann Short was released by the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday. It wasn’t a surprising move, considering the defensive tackle has struggled to stay healthy over the last two seasons. But there is still enough there for the former second-round pick to make a difference for a franchise.
Here are four NFL teams that should pursue Short in free agency. All four teams make sense for a variety of reasons, and he could be a difference-maker for each of them.
1. Buffalo Bills
This connection makes too much sense. First off, Short is on the back half of his career. He’s 32 years old, and probably looking to finish his time in the NFL with a contender. Not only does Buffalo offer that benefit, the two parties are also already familiar with one another.
Short played under head coach Sean McDermott in Carolina, and the franchise has already added plenty of former Panthers on defense. There is a need on the interior since Ed Oliver is still developing, so Short would help fill a void.
2. Atlanta Falcons
Short has played an entire career in the NFC South. That means he’s plenty familiar with the Falcons. He’s also familiar with the team’s new defensive line coach, Gary Emanuel, who was his position coach at Purdue.
Atlanta has Grady Jarrett and Marlon Davidson, but there’s still room for another impactful body on the interior of the defensive line. Short would make an excellent addition to the rotation and would also help free up Deion Jones and others on the second level.
3. Cleveland Browns
Larry Ogunjobi is a free agent. Yes, Cleveland drafted Jordan Elliott in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft to be a potential replacement behind Sheldon Richardson, but that doesn’t rule out adding Short.
This is a team on the rise, and adding an aging, veteran player on the rotation would be beneficial for Short and the Browns. This could be a similar situation to adding Adrian Clayborn out on the edge.
4. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders barely missed the playoffs, but there is a lot to like about this team moving forward. Derek Carr isn’t terrible, the offensive line is excellent, Josh Jacobs is an emerging running back, and there are young options in the passing game.
The defense could still use some work, though. There are plenty of potential bodies at defensive end, including Maxx Crosby, Clelin Ferrell, Carl Nassib and Arden Key, but Maurice Hurst is the only big-name interior guy not hitting free agency. But improvement is needed at defensive tackle anyways.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.