Josh Norman, not surprisingly, wants to cash in on his very successful 2015 campaign.
According to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Carolina Panthers cornerback is looking to blow past Darrelle Revis as the top-paid cornerback in the NFL in terms of average salary, seeking $16 million per year.
Not only that, but the cornerback is not so subtly threatening a hold out if he doesn’t get what he wants. He has yet to sign his $13.95 million franchise tender and doesn’t appear inclined to do so in the near future.
“I can’t report if I haven’t signed anything so I don’t feel as if I’m at the point where I’m ready to get back to working right now,” Norman told NFL Network, via Person.
Norman’s ability to blanket opposing top receivers was a big piece of Carolina’s Super Bowl contending defense last year. However, this is a team that has many other mouths to feed in the near future and might not feel inclined to cave in to his demands.
After all, despite Norman’s outstanding campaign, he was an average player in his first three years before busting out in 2015.
Still, lock-down cornerbacks don’t grow on trees. There aren’t many in the NFL right now that can compare to Revis, Richard Sherman and Chris Harris, but Norman is one of them.
This will be an interesting development to track. Nobody should be surprised to see this standoff between Norman and the Panthers last well through OTAs and team minicamps and perhaps even into the summer.
In the end, though, Norman will play for the Panthers in 2016, even if the two sides can’t get a long-term deal worked out. His $13.95 million franchise tag is fully guaranteed, and it will only get more expensive to keep Norman in Carolina afterwards.
In the end, much like Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins, it might just behoove both sides to enter the season with the player on the franchise deal to see if he’s really worth big-time money long term.