The Carolina Panthers have been known around the league the past few years as a team that’s tough in the defensive trenches. Their front seven is arguably the most dominant group in the entire National Football League, and their front office obviously understands that contracts for those guys take precedence over others in terms of importance. With that in mind, the Panthers made three contract moves Monday that will keep that defensive unit together and strengthen their fearsome frontline for years to come.

Panthers re-sign defensive end Mario Addison

The biggest news of the day from the Panthers was the re-signing of 29-year old Mario Addison. Addison’s deal, 3-years, $22.5 million total with $11.5 million guaranteed, will keep him with the team through 2019. Addison was the Carolina Panthers' sack leader in 2016 with 9.5 sacks, and has led the team with 22 sacks over the last three seasons.

Franchise tag placed on defensive tackle Kawann Short

The second move the Panthers made on Monday involved applying the "non-exclusive" franchise tag on 28-year-old defensive tackle Kawann Short.

The move comes after the team couldn’t come to terms with Short and his agent on a long-term contract. In Short’s four-year career he has started 41 games and recorded 107 tackles with 22 sacks, and five fumble recoveries. Based on a presumed cap of $168 million in 2017, The tag gives the team until July 15th to try to work out a long-term deal.

If they cannot come to terms Short will earn $16.955 million this year under the tag. Because the tag is deemed "non-exclusive," Short will also be open to offers from other teams, but the Panthers will have the right to match any offer or work out any trade.

The signing of both Short and Addison locks up a duo that has produced 46.5 sacks over the last four seasons.

Several teams around the league are now rethinking their plan in terms of who they will target on March 9th when free agency opens around the league. Several teams had Short at the very top of their free agency list.

DE Wes Horton signed to a two-year contract

The third move the Panthers made was to re-sign defensive end Wes Horton to a two year contract. In 27 career starts with the Panthers Horton has 26 tackles with 8.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries. Full details of Horton’s contract are unknown at this time.