Since the Panthers officially placed the franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman on March 1, any signs of progression towards a long-term deal have been essentially non-existent. A report last week indicated that Norman and Carolina remained far apart in contract talks, and one reason could be Norman’s asking price, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that Norman is seeking a salary “in the neighborhood of $16MM a year.”
A $16MM annual salary would make Norman the highest-paid corner in the league by a wide margin — Darrelle Revis currently tops the list at just over $14MM per season. But as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com notes (Twitter link), Norman’s ask isn’t all that surprising, as Revis’ frontloaded deal calls for him to earn $48MM over his first three seasons with the Jets.
Still, the $16MM figure is probably just a starting point in negotiations, and it’s unlikely that Norman will reach that target for several reasons. Norman doesn’t have the track record needed to redefine the market at a position, and he’ll be 29 years old in December, so his age is working against him. The franchise tag for corners is worth $13.95MM, so the Panthers have no reason to entertain a significantly higher figure. I examined Norman’s case for an extension back in November, pegging him for a $14MM annual salary.
General manager Dave Gettleman has downplayed the notion that Norman would cause any distraction in an effort to land a long-term contract, and Norman himself has previously said that while he won’t accept a hometown discount, he doesn’t anticipate missing any portion of training camp. But speaking to the NFL Network, Norman did seem to indicate that he could skip offseason workouts and/or OTAs. “I can’t report if I haven’t signed anything so I don’t feel as if I’m at the point where I’m ready to get back to working right now,” said Norman.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.