Panthers rescind franchise tag offer to Josh Norman

The past week around the NFL has been filled with two stunning trades and other moves that simply defy reality.

This is about to take on a whole new level following a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport indicating that the Carolina Panthers have rescinded the franchise tag offer they gave cornerback Josh Norman back in March:

Norman, one of the top defensive players in the NFL last season, found himself quickly taken off the free-agent market before it started earlier this spring.

It was a move that most people expected following what was a breakout performance during the 2015 campaign.

There is no information out there as to why the Panthers would rescind the franchise tag offer at this point in the offseason.

Not only does this make Norman the top free agent on the market, it will change up the entire dynamic of the upcoming 2016 NFL draft.

Teams with an ample amount of cap space are now going to focus centrally on bringing this guy in rather than exhausting an early-round pick on this position.

With the NFL leaning heavily towards a reliance on good cover guys in the secondary, Norman’s value is through the roof. And now that the free-agent market is incredibly thin, that’s magnified even further.

It’s an unreal circumstance at this point in the offseason. It will also lead to questions regarding the Panthers’ decision making leading up to the draft. Did something happen with Norman behind the scenes? Is he in legal hot water?

If not, this move makes absolutely no sense for the defending NFC champions.

Norman, 28, recorded 56 tackles and four interceptions en route to earning First-Team All-Pro honors a season ago.