Andrew Norwell will parlay All-Pro award into big-time payday

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The good news for Panthers guard Andrew Norwell is that he’s a first-team NFL All-Pro. The better news is that it’s the best way to cap a contract year.

Norwell quickly became a fixture on the offensive line in Carolina as a rookie in 2014, starting 11 total games as a rookie, 16 during the 2015 Super Bowls season, 16 last year, and 16 (so far) this year.

He was hoping for an extension last August, after Trai Turner signed one. That never happened for Norwell.

And now, with the accolades of another solid season, he gets ready to head to the open market — unless the Panthers apply the franchise tag. But since the tag covers the entire offensive line, it’s bloated by left tackle compensation.

As a result, Norwell is looking at roughly $15 million for next year, absent a long-term contract. Which is considerably more than the $2.746 million he made under the restricted free agency tender in 2017.

If the Panthers choose not to tag him, Norwell will be looking at even more financial security on a long-term deal, which would be a fitting reward for his accomplishments as a guy who wasn’t even drafted.