The Carolina Panthers were minutes away from winning their first Super Bowl last season. Now a staple of their dynamic defense is likely gone forever.
On Wednesday, the Panthers shockingly cut ties with cornerback Josh Norman. After failing to negotiate a long-term contract, the Panthers rescinded the non-exclusive franchise tag, making the All-pro corner a free agent.
NFL teams are already making their pitch to Norman. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, there are a number of potential landing spots for the high profile defensive back. Three teams in the NFC West are noted to have some interest. Those teams include the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. Both teams already have strong defenses, so adding Norman could be the move to put them over the top in the NFC.
In the AFC, teams like the Oakland Raiders, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans may have an interest in Norman. All three teams have young quarterbacks and seem to be on the rise in the NFL. Could Norman’s big personality and big game put one of these teams into the NFL playoffs? That remains to be seen, but there was an NFL team on the cusp of something great. Yet, ego is getting in the way of production.
If Norman was on the market at the beginning of free agency, he would have been the most coveted football player, according to this board. So why would the Panthers part ways with such a valuable player?
The Panthers released a statement on the reasons why the relationship ended-
“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.”
According to Trey Wingo, Gettleman was not done with Norman. “We want people that want to be here… that are all in.” It’s plain to see, Gettleman does not believe Norman is a difference maker in the NFL.
However, it seems like Norman and the Panthers are messing up a great thing. He was the perfect fit the Panthers. Last season Norman had four interceptions, taking two back for touchdowns. In the last two seasons he had 30 pass breakups in 26 starts.
Despite garnering interest for other teams, Norman was not in the mood to be bothered. “Man I just don’t feel like talking about it right now,” Norman said to the Associated Press.
For the first time in a long time, he was a man of few words. Kevin Patra of NFL.com notes the stunning change in philosophy for the Panthers. “Gettleman insisted this offseason he didn’t believe in drafting and developing players” to become stars on other teams. Now the Panthers are moving on from a cornerback entering the prime of his career without an ounce of concern.
The only is will they pay for this mistake?