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Panthers place franchise tag on Josh Norman


Josh Norman isn't going anywhere.

The Panthers placed the franchise tag on their emerging star cornerback before Tuesday's deadline, the team announced.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first reported the news.

The Panthers will continue to work on a long-term deal for Norman, but in the meantime are comfortable with a one-year salary of $13.952 million.

Norman was arguably one of the three best cornerbacks in football this season after a quietly great 2014. He emerged as one of the faces of a brutally effective Panthers defense at the perfect time -- just before the expiration of his rookie contract.

The former fifth-round pick was reportedly being shopped around in the $14-16 million range this offseason, which would put him in the APY (average per year) category of the best trio of cover corners in football: Darrelle Revis, Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman.

With the rise in salary-cap space and the desperate market for talented young corners, the demands make sense though Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman didn't get to where he was by spending frivolously.

The tag is likely a placeholder, given that Gettleman comes from a long lineage of talent evaluators who believe in the power of pass rushers and cover corners. Some of the best teams Gettleman has been a part of have been stacked in those categories, and inking Norman (28) through a deal that takes him into his early 30s makes a lot of sense.

Norman finished the 2015 season with four picks, two of which were returned for touchdowns. He added 48 tackles, three forced fumbles and 18 passes defensed to earn first-team All-Pro honors.


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