Gettleman mum on Panthers' plans to tag Josh Norman

Josh Norman is set to get P-A-I-D, paid this offseason.

The All-Pro corner could become the highest paid defensive back in the NFL or he could get slapped with the franchise tag.

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman wouldn't tip his hand Tuesday on whether he plans to franchise tag Norman if the sides can't hammer out a long-term deal in the next few weeks. But the GM noted he's not afraid to wield the option.

"We've got to look at it," Gettleman said in general about using the tag. "I've used it before. I'm not shy. I'm not afraid of it. We're going to do what we think after we evaluate everything, we are going to do what we think is the best interest of the Carolina Panthers. We've used the tag before. It's possible we'll use it again."

While mum on specifics about Norman's contract, Gettleman noted: "We're gonna do the best we can to keep this team together. We have a lot of really good young players. I don't want to develop players for other teams."

Selected in the fifth-round of the 2012 draft, Norman burst on the national scene as one of the top corners in 2015.

Keeping Norman in Carolina is key for the Panthers. His ability to lock down one side of the field enabled defensive coordinator Sean McDermott options at other coverage positions, especially as injuries mounted.

The franchise tag for corners could fall in the $13.5 million to $14 million range, which means those numbers will likely be the starting point of contract negotiations for Norman's side. Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman both recently inked deals with more than $40 million in guaranteed money -- with more than 65 percent of their total money guaranteed. Norman could seek a similar deal.

Tag or no tag, Norman's importance to a young team whose Super Bowl window is wide open means it'd be a surprise if he actually hit the open market.

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