CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers announced Wednesday that the team has rescinded the non-exclusive franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman. Norman is entering his fifth NFL season and immediately becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent.
"After a number of conversations with Josh's agent we realized that a long-term deal was not attainable," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "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."
Last month, the All-Pro cornerback said he was in no rush to sign his franchise tender that would have guaranteed a $13.952 million salary in 2016. Norman and Carolina had until July 15 to make it happen.
"I'm comfortable where I'm at. Trust and believe," Norman told the Charlotte Observer. "If I've waited this long I can wait on them some more. I got no problem waiting. Waiting got me where I need to be at the end of the day. Trust me: waiting is my specialty."
A former fifth-round pick, Norman made $1.54 million in the final year of his rookie deal last season. One might think he'd jump at being offered nearly $14 million for one season, but Norman has practiced patience before.
He did not accept Carolina's contract offer last season of around $7 million per year. Now he wants to be paid alongside the top cornerbacks in the league, and if a deal isn't reached by July 15, he'll play under the franchise tag and be a free agent in 2017.
Being paid among the top corners would mean a deal like the one Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has. Revis signed a five-year deal worth $70 million (with $39 million guaranteed) last offseason. But Norman wouldn't throw out a specific number even though it was clear he has one in mind.
"I'm talking about a number that defines and displays what I do each and every day; the work that I put in on the football field," Norman said. "Now, we're not talking about the work I put in on the practice field. That work is just extra. We're not even talking about that. You don't even have to put that in.
"But on Sundays? (Norman laughs.) That is the work. That's what we do. And that demands a certain number. People pay to see that. People pay to see the show. Why am I any different than someone else when I'm trying to get mine? I'm not."
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In 2015, Norman's career-high four interceptions helped the Panthers lead the NFL in interceptions (24), total takeaways (39), points off turnovers (148) and turnover differential (+20). He contributed 16 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Norman was the sixth player in Panthers history to receive the franchise tag, joining punter Todd Sauerbrun (2003), tackle Jordan Gross (2008), defensive end Julius Peppers (2009), center Ryan Kalil (2011) and defensive end Greg Hardy (2014).
In four NFL seasons, Norman has played in 53 regular season games with 38 starts and totaled 172 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 35 passes defensed. He was selected out of Coastal Carolina by the Panthers in the fifth round (143rd overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft.