It's February 16th, do you know what that means?
This is the first day NFL teams can apply the franchise tag to one of their potential free agents.
Carolina's most notable FA is cornerback Josh Norman.
If the team applies the tag, it binds Norman to the Panthers for 1 year with a salary equal to the top 5 salaries at his position. That would be between $13 to $14 million for next season.
The team does have a chance to work out a long term deal with Josh up until July 15 if they do apply the tag. If no deal is reached, then the one year deal would go into effect.
What would a long term deal look like? Depends on what the team really thinks of Josh Norman as a cornerback who will be 28 at the start of next season.
Here are some of the high end CB in the NFL and how much they will count against the salary cap in 2016 along with their age...
Darrelle Revis (30)- $17 million
Richard Sherman (27)- $14 million
Joe Haden (26)- $13.4 million
Patrick Peterson (25)- $13 million
Here is the next level for 2016...
Aqib Talib (30)- $9.9 million
Byron Maxwell (27)- $9-7 million
Jimmy Smith (27)- $9.6 million
Brent Grimes (32)- $9.5 million
Chris Harris (26)- $9 million
Vontae Davis (27)- $8.3 million
So once again, what do the Panthers think of Josh Norman and can it work in their salary cap structure? That is the million dollar question.
Josh only made $574,00 last season and was one of the best CB in the NFL so he is DUE for a big pay day. A long term deal is something both sides would want, but for Josh, I don't think $13 million next season is something he will be disappointed with.
The Panthers are in great shape when it comes to the salary cap. That doesn't mean they will just open up the check book and let Josh and his agent call their price. Carolina will have to work on deals for defensive tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei in the very near future. And soon after that, it may be time to re up with wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin provided he comes back off the knee injury and is a force like he was his rookie season.
A lot of moving parts to watch these next few weeks, but these are very important months for the long term future for the Carolina Panthers.
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