One of the biggest developments of the NFL offseason came last week when the Carolina Panthers rescinded the $13.8 million franchise-tag offer for Josh Norman, making him a free agent.
Norman then signed a monster, $75 million contact with the Washington Redskins.
According to a report from ESPN’s David Newton, it sounds like Norman wanted to stay with the Panthers and was blindsided by the move.
Norman had been angling for a big, long-term contract when the Panthers decided he wasn’t worth the price. According to Norman, he offered at the last minute to take the one-year, franchise tag to stay in Carolina.
He blamed Panthers GM Dave Gettleman for not clarifying that the Panthers would not raise their offer (reportedly four years, $44 million) and allowing for easier negotiations:
“If I would have known, we could have come to some kind of agreement to where, all right, if this is the case, let me get this out of the way and we can work on something different. I didn’t know all that went down like it did. If would have known that, of course I would have liked to have stayed there. Why would I want to leave there?”
“I asked [Gettleman] what was up. Shoot, I dedicated all my life there, put in blood and tears. … He was like, ‘Yeah, man. I’m sorry. Your agent is a reflection of you.'”
Norman then took a passing shot at the Panthers, saying (emphasis ours), “It sucks it had to come down to this when I didn’t know anything about it. Hey, man, I gave it my all. We’ll see this year how it plays out for them. Good luck with Julio [Jones] and all the big twin towers over there in Tampa Bay.”
Norman is referring to 6-foot-3 Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones, 6-foot-5 Buccaneers receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. The Panthers, who play in the NFC South with the Falcons and Bucs, will see both teams twice this season.
Norman had one of the best seasons for a cornerback in 2015. He finished the year with four interceptions, two returned for a touchdown, while allowing the lowest passer rating to quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Panthers defence will almost certainly take a hit without Norman. However, it figures that if the Panthers were worried about regressing on defence without Norman, they would have matched his salary demands. Instead, they let him walk, thinking the potential holdout or high salary, wasn’t worth his production on the field.