The Carolina Panthers last week used the non-exclusive franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman almost guaranteeing he will be with the team next season. The tag also buys them more time to work out a long-term deal, which according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo!, they will resume negotiating next month.
It remains to be seen just how far apart the two sides are but it would be safe to say that Norman expects to be paid like one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Last week, while on ESPN, he said he believed he was one of the Top 5 greatest to ever play cornerback in the NFL, tied with Darrelle Revis.
This may be surprising since Norman has only played one full NFL season in his career but that one season resulted in a Pro Bowl selection as well as being named first-team All-Pro. However, one of the things that Norman has never been lacking in is confidence.
If Norman believes he is on the same level as Revis, then it would be safe to say he expects to receive a similar contract as the NY Jets cornerback. According to Spotrac, Revis is the highest paid cornerback after signing a 5-year, $70,121,060 contract last offseason. This deal is just slightly above Patrick Peterson's deal of 5-years, $70,050,000 that he signed in 2014.
With the Panthers' using the franchise tag, Norman is close to Revis and Peterson in terms of average salary for the upcoming season with both cornerbacks just north of $14 million and Norman just shy at $13,952,000. While the Panthers' feel comfortable enough to pay him this salary for one season, the question becomes will they want to long-term?
There is no question that Norman played at an exceptionally high level last season however there are reasons for pause on the Panthers' side of negotiations about a long-term deal. The first is that Norman hasn't only played at this level for one full season and hasn't proven he can do it over an extended period of time.
One way the Panthers' could solve for this is to let Norman play this season out and prove that this past year wasn't a fluke. However they will run the risk that Norman does continue to play this well and his price tag only rises.
The other possible reason the organization may show some hesitation is that Norman is older and will be 29 by the end of next season. This is where him being a full-time starter only this past season could help Norman's case for the contract he wants in the fact that he hasn't taken the physical tool of a player who became a starter early in his career.
Both sides will have a deadline of July 15th to reach a long-term deal but if that does not happen, they will have to wait until the conclusion of the 2016 season to discuss any type of extension.