Let the Josh Norman sweepstakes begin! A report from Charles Robinson at Yahoo! sports says that league sources told Yahoo! The San Francisco 49ers are the leading candidate for Josh Norman. The Jacksonville Jaguars are also in the hunt for the cornerback, but the 49ers are apparently ahead for now.
As reported yesterday, several teams have contacted Norman after the Carolina Panthers rescinded the franchise tag on the cornerback. As to why the Panthers would pull the tag, especially after Norman said there wouldn't be so much of a holdout if tagged, is anyone's guess. It does sound like the Panthers were just unable to get on the same page with Norman for a multi-year deal and given the way he's played, he wants to get paid.
Norman has been one of the league's best cornerbacks in 2014 and 2015. He does turn 29 this year and could start to show some tread in later years if given a multi-year deal. That's still a big if and if Norman is brought in it would certainly improve the current group of cornerbacks on the roster at the very least. He does have a few character issues such as when he allegedly threatened Odell Beckham Jr. with homophobic slurs and a baseball bat, but he has played lights out and could exponentially improve the 49ers defense and change priorities on draft day.
If the 49ers land Norman, it will be interesting to see how they structure the deal. It seems like they want to save some cap space for next year, but as Fooch said, they can certainly front-load this deal and not have a hit in later years.
It's rather funny, the 49ers are behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars in cap space, but the Jaguars are playing second place to the 49ers in landing Norman. I'll let you guys insert your own Jacksonville joke here.