Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Panthers and CB Josh Norman has “intense” contract talks regarding a contract extension during the preseason. However, Norman ultimately elected to play out the final year of his rookie contract.
Rapoport mentions that the Panthers now face a big decision regarding their star cornerback, as they’ll have to decide whether to sign him to a massive contract or use their franchise tag to prevent him from testing the open market.
OverTheCap.com projects the Panthers to have $20,415,540 in available cap space for the 2016 season. The problem for Carolina is that franchising Norman would cost them over $13 million and leave them with around $7 million in cap room to work with.
Of course, they could pick up a good amount of cap space by cutting veteran DE Charles Johnson. With the cap likely to increase even further, there’s a good chance that Norman will be able to best the six-year, $63 million contract that includes $25 million guaranteed signed by Eagles CB Byron Maxwell.
Norman, 28, played out his four-year, $2,299,000 rookie contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in the coming months.
In 2015, Norman appeared in all 16 games for the Panthers and recorded 56 tackles, four interceptions with two being returned for touchdowns, three forced fumbles, two recoveries, and 18 pass defenses for the Panthers. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 6 cornerback out of 118 qualifying players.
We have Norman featured in our Top 2016 Free Agents list.