Carolina Panthers Snatch Franchise Tag From Josh Norman A Week Before The Draft
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
The Carolina Panthers pulled a surprise move by rescinding their franchise tag on all-world cornerback Josh Norman, a leader on their defense that helped propel the team to last year’s Super Bowl.
Norman n0w has become an unrestricted free agent, allowing him to sign with ANY other team in the NFL.
What happened ??
“After a number of conversations with Josh’s agent we realized that a long-term deal was not attainable,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “We have decided to rescind the franchise tag freeing Josh to immediately become a UFA. We thank Josh for all his contributions and truly wish him well.”
Norman, 28, has four years of NFL experience and is a Pro Bowl corner was seeking to become the highest-paid cornerback in the league. It appears the Panthers were not willing to spend the money and in an effort to avoid “distractions” in the locker room and press next season they decided to let Norman go.
Rescinding the franchise tag just a mere week before the NFL draft is unprecedented and in fact, there has been only one other time in NFL history that a team has chosen to rescind their franchise tag on a player.
Each NFL team gets one franchise tag per year that will allow the them to extend the bargaining period for a player they feel is key to their success for one-year while paying that player no less than the average of the top-five cap hits at the player’s position or the 120% of the player’s previous year’s salary.
Norman was set to make $13.952 million under the franchise tag, but he also made it more than known that he was seeking to become the highest-paid corner in the league and considered himself the best cornerback in the league.
The Panthers clearly did not think Norman was worth that kind of money, as they place a premium on their defensive front and not their corners.
The Panthers were already in desperate need of offensive help for their MVP quarterback Cam Newton, but now with Norman’s departure there are bigger holes to fill where he would have been a welcome constant.
Cornerback Charles Tillman is still a free agent from the Panthers, but he is aging, and slot corner Bene’ Benwikere is coming off of injury.
“Shutdown corner is a misnomer. There’s very few of them. It’s so hard. You can’t cover forever,” Gettleman told Black and Blue Review’s Bill Voth last season. “If there’s no pass rush, there’s no shutdown corners.”
But don’t cry for Norman, there are several teams that began contacting him for his services within an hour of his franchise tag being snatched from him. The San Francisco 49ers have been identified as an early front-runner for his services, but there are also teams like the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars who are salary cap rich that also may be interested.
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