Norman a free agent after Panthers pull franchise tag
Josh Norman is an unrestricted free agent after the Carolina Panthers rescinded the non-exclusive franchise tag on the All-Pro cornerback.
The Panthers announced the decision on Wednesday, with general manager Dave Gettleman revealing the negotiations the franchise held with the 28-year-old had indicated a long-term deal was not possible.
Gettleman said: "After a number of conversations with Josh's agent we realised that a long-term deal was not attainable. We have decided to rescind the franchise tag freeing Josh to immediately become a UFA [unrestricted free agent].
"We thank Josh for all his contributions and truly wish him well."
The franchise tag has only been revoked twice in the past 11 years, with the Seattle Seahawks rescinding Leroy Hill's tag in 2009 and the Philadelphia Eagles doing the same with Corey Simon's tag in 2005. In Hill's case, he re-signed with the Seahawks four days later.
It has been reported Norman was seeking around $16 million per year. The franchise tag would have paid him around $14 million in 2016.
Norman has played four seasons with the Panthers, recording a career-high four interceptions in 2015. He also had three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
A fifth-round pick in 2012, Norman has started 38 of 53 games in his career and recorded 172 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 35 passes defensed.