In an unexpected and rare move, the Carolina Panthers rescinded cornerback Josh Norman’s non-exclusive franchise tender Wednesday, making the star corner an unrestricted free agent immediately.
“After a number of conversations with Josh’s agent we realized that a long-term deal was not attainable,” general manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement. “We have decided to rescind the franchise tag, freeing Josh to immediately become a UFA. We thank Josh for all his contributions and truly wish him well.”
Norman’s franchise tag was worth $13.952 million, but the fifth-year corner never signed it. He and his agent were waiting for a long-term deal to materialize, and the two sides had until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement.
A league source told the Observer earlier this week that Norman would not report to the start of organized team activities, which are set to begin Monday.
Norman was looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $16 million per year, but clearly the Panthers were not interested in paying that much at that position despite Norman’s high level of play in the 2015 season.
Norman had four interceptions with two returned for touchdowns in 2015.
This is the second consecutive time the Panthers have had the franchise tag not go their way. In 2014, the Panthers used the franchise tag on Greg Hardy, but he played in only one game that season with his domestic violence case unresolved.
Norman is now free to sign with any team.