Thanks to the Carolina Panthers, there's a surprise No. 1 cornerback on the market.
The Super Bowl runner-ups and All-Pro defensive back Josh Norman couldn't agree on a long-term contract. They'd offered him a franchise tag which would have paid Norman just under $14 million in 2016 while the team hoped he'd instead sign a long-term deal in the $11-12 million per year range.
But after Norman and his camp appeared unwilling to budge from the $16 million per year deal they sought, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman rescinded the franchise tag offer, which he originally extended for the chance to lock Norman up on a longer-term deal.
The GM reportedly didn't believe Norman was worth as much as other top corners in the league because his performance was enhanced by a defensive scheme that takes pressure off defensive backs because of a strong pass rush.
"After a number of conversations with Josh’s agent we realized that a long-term deal was not attainable," Gettleman said. "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 had easily his best season in 2015, his fourth year in the NFL. He was named first-team All-Pro and was selected to the Pro Bowl. Norman led the league in non-offensive touchdowns, with two.
Now, he's a hot commodity with a chance to get paid like top corners Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson.
The San Francisco 49ers, who have the second-most cap space in the league, have reportedly already reached out to Norman
Another interesting landing spot that can actually afford Norman: the New York Giants.
Despite an offseason spending spree, New York still has roughly $22 million in cap room. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins already in the fold, the Giants would have a secondary that could rival the Seattle Seahawks.