The Carolina Panthers decision to rescind the franchise tag on Josh Norman left people shaking their head, wondering what reasoning led to that decision. General manager Dave Gettleman met with the media for his pre-draft press conference, and he discussed some of that reasoning.
Gettleman said that when it became clear a long-term deal was not going to be reached, paying out $13.9 million for one year was not worth it. He mentioned the idea that no team is one player away in a team game like football, and having that extra money provided some flexibility. The Panthers have players they need to extend, so it certainly does open the door to get those things done.
According to one report, the Panthers gave Norman's agent permission to pursue a trade. That was apparently unsuccessful. A trade of a franchise player requires the player first sign his franchise tender. Norman likely would have wanted a long-term deal in place with a new team before signing the tender. And so, he likely could not work out a long-term deal at that point. Of course, the additional cost of a trade would make a team less likely to give Norman the money he wants, but that is no longer an issue.
Reports suggest as many as nine teams have expressed interest in Norman, including the 49ers, Dolphins, Washington, and Steelers. One report already shot down the Steelers interest. Jaguars fans are hoping their team is involved. All in all, it will be a flurry of activity, likely to wrap up before the draft gets going next week.
It is worth noting that Gettleman did not shut down the idea of Norman signing a long-term deal with the Panthers. It would take a change in negotiating position, but it is possible. The last time a team rescinded the franchise tag was in 2009 when the Seattle Seahawks did so with LeRoy Hill. They agreed to a new contract a few days later. I don't expect Norman to return to Carolina, but anything is possible.