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Panthers not worried about using tag on Josh Norman

INDIANAPOLIS --Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman won't shy away from wielding the franchise tag to ensure corner Josh Norman remains a Panther.

"I told you guys I don't believe in drafting, developing players for other teams," Gettleman said Wednesday from the NFL Scouting Combine. "For some reason it doesn't make sense. So, yes, we are going to have the conversation (about a long-term contract), and we're going to do the best we can ... Nothing's changed, we're going to try and get a deal done.

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"If not, there are options, and maybe the tag gets used."

Gettleman isn't worried about Norman being upset if he's tagged.

"Josh is a pro. He's a pro. No, not at all. Because ... I'm not," he said chuckling.

The franchise tag for cornerbacks is estimated at $13.7 million.

Other notes from Gettleman:

1. The GM danced around questions about whether defensive end Charles Johnson would need to take a pay cut in order to remain on the roster.

"We had some conversations before the Super Bowl, but we've got a little bit later start," Gettleman said. "To me, it's not so much about what a guy makes, it's what he brings to the table. That's really what it's about. ... It's about the best 53 and I don't worry about that stuff. We're going to put together the best team that we can."

When asked later whether Johnson could play at a level commensurate with his pay, Gettleman pointed to the pass rusher's injury as a big part of the equation.

"We're still going through that evaluation," he said. "It's hard because he got hurt. He starts out, he got hurt, then he is working his way back and it's like, alright, when is he 100 percent? So we are still going through that process."

That talks took place already is a positive indicator Johnson could take a pay cut to remain on the roster -- a la Terrell Suggs.

2. Panthers right tackle Mike Remmers got whipped in the Super Bowl, but Gettleman sideswiped a question about whether the team wanted to upgrade the position.

"We've won 22 out of our last 25 games with Mike Remmers starting at right tackle. We've done that," he said. "You know I'm not a knee-jerker, I'm not going to do it. I will not do it. And I believe in our ability to evaluate our players.

"So it's like anything else, you always want to get better. I don't care what position it is, you're going to look to get better. Again, he's young in his career now. Don't take one snapshot and decide that we need a right tackle. It's no different than we take a guy in the first round -- you really don't know for three years whether you've got a first rounder or not. You don't."

3. On that note, Gettleman dropped a phenomenal line about young players. "We're not getting instant oatmeal," he said, noting that teams now need three years to evaluate and coach-up draft picks.

4. Gettleman hasn't talked to Charles Tillman or Jerricho Cotchery about whether they plan to continue playing (both free agents) or whether the Panthers would bring them back.

5. When asked about finally having salary-cap space to play with, Gettleman noted recent contract extensions for Cam Newton, Thomas Davis, Greg Olsen and Luke Kuechly. He also added that his philosophy is to focus on the draft, not free agency.

"We shopped at Tiffany's last year. TD, Greg, Luke and Cam. That cost more than a bag of donuts," Gettleman said. "So the bottom line is, you guys have seen my act for three years, I'm methodical, I'm intentional. And that's the approach I'm going to take whether we're $16 million over or we're 25 under. I'm not going to change. I think it's kind of working."

6. As for the Super Bowl, Gettleman admitted he still hasn't watched the tape. He promised to do so, at some point.

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