Gettleman: Panthers not closing the door on Norman

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman made a colossal decision this week to rescindJosh Norman's franchise tag offer, but does that mean Norman is done in Carolina?

The answer is probably yes. Gettleman and Norman were too far apart on a potential long-term pact and the $14 million he would have spent for one season of cornerback play was too tempting to use elsewhere. Norman is probably ticked this didn't happen before the height of free agency.

Gettleman, however, is leaving the door open.

"No. No," he said when asked if the team would not consider eventually signing Norman. "No doors have been shut. We respect Josh. Doors have not been shut."

Again, this is probably a continued effort by Gettleman to leave negotiations on a respectable tone. He endured similar criticism when the team cut franchise legend Steve Smith and did his best to keep the situation -- and relationship -- positive. He also commended Norman and his agent multiple times for the respectable way they handled the situation.

The thing that Gettleman is not saying, which would create a bargaining issue onto itself, is that he needs the $14 million for players like Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short and Kony Ealy. Gettleman comes from -- and helped pioneer -- an old-school thought process on team building that is pretty simple to understand: Championship teams start at quarterback and defensive line.

Here's what else Gettleman had to say:

» On what kind of message it sends to players in the locker room:

"One of the things we talked about last year ... our culture was terrific down there. Everybody was 'all in.' We want people that are 'all in.' It was the message to our guys they are adults, they are professionals ..."

"... At the end of the day, this is a business decision, folks. A business decision."

» On whether Josh Norman skipping workouts had anything to do with rescinding the offer:

"No. No."

And after being asked a second time: "It didn't impact it at all. It did not."

» On what he can do with $14 million at this point:

"A lot. I mean, I'm not going to get into it. I've said it before. I struggle with our coaches working their fannies off developing players and letting them walk. I don't like that. I always believe the cap can be a great equalizer but it penalizes teams that draft well. It does. So you can't keep everyone, it's impossible. You have to decide who you're going to let graduate."

The last quote was interesting if only because head coach Ron Rivera was by his side. Gettleman is right -- Norman is a coaching success story and there is no other way to put it. They took a player with a raw but promising skill set and figured out exactly how to use him, and now that player is gone. It has to be incredibly frustrating for the staff that made this happen to watch Norman elsewhere next year.

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