NFL free agents: Pursuing Kawann Short would be smart move for Patriots

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Nick Goss
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NFL free agents: Pursuing Kawann Short would be smart move for Pats originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

NFL free agency could get pretty exciting this offseason, and another talented player hit the market Tuesday.

The Carolina Panthers announced they released defensive tackle Kawann Short. The 32-year-old veteran is a two-time Pro Bowler, but shoulder injuries have limited his availability and effectiveness over the last two seasons. Carolina will save almost $9 million in salary cap space by parting ways with Short.

Short played in just two games in 2019 and three games last season. He tallied 32.5 sacks in his first five seasons with the Panthers, including a career-high 11 in 2015. Short posted 7.5 sacks in 2017.

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The Patriots need to upgrade their talent and depth along the defensive line before next season. They should address this area with one of their 10 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, but adding a veteran or two via free agency for a little more experience needs to be a priority as well. 

New England's top two defensive tackles, Adam Butler and Lawrence Guy, are able to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. If either player leaves in free agency, defensive tackle could become one of the team's most glaring weaknesses.

Short would be a nice buy-low candidate -- the type player who Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has done a good job identifying in his 21 seasons running the roster. 

The Patriots have an abundance of salary cap space, too. OverTheCap projects the Pats at just under $63 million in cap space right now, which is the fourth-highest total in the league.