The deadline to use the franchise tag was 4 PM Tuesday and the Carolina Panthers used as much time as possible before placing the franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman. Even though the team waited until the final hours, it appeared there was no question this would happen.
The Panthers' front office decided to use the non-exclusive franchise tag, which means the team offers him a one-year deal with a salary just under $14 million. The team will now have until July 15th to work out a long-term deal but if a deal isn't struck, the two sides would have to wait until after the 2016 season to re-open negotiations.
The fact that the team used the non-exclusive franchise tag leaves a small possibility that Norman could sign with another team. The cornerback will have the opportunity to negotiate with other teams however the Panthers will have a chance to match any contract Norman signs. If they chose not to, the Panthers' would receive two first round picks (this season and next).
While the Panthers' officially offered the one-year deal on Tuesday, Norman will not be able to sign until March 9th. He will have until the Tuesday after Week 10 (November 15) to sign the one-year contract. Since 2007, five times the franchise tag has been used on cornerbacks and all five signed their tender before the start of the season but two sat out the entire training camp (Dunta Robinson in 2009, Asante Samuels in 2007). Of the five cornerbacks, only one signed a long-term deal before the start of the season (Marcus Trufant in 2008).
Josh Norman had an excellent year for the Panthers finishing with 56 tackles, four interceptions, two returned for a touchdown and three forced fumbles. He was named to the Pro Bowl and the first team All-Pro for the first time in his career as well as earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week and NFC Defensive Player of the Month this past season.