Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman said he was comfortable with cornerback Josh Norman signing the $13.9 million franchise tag.
But the more he thought about it, the less comfortable he became.
During a pre-draft press conference Thursday, Gettleman said that as time passed and it became obvious that Norman wasn’t going to agree to a long-term deal with the team, they started looking in other directions.
“The more we thought about it, the more flexibility that $14 million would give us,” Gettleman said.
He opened the press conference emphasizing that no team was “one player away,” and insisted that Norman skipping OTAs next week wasn’t a factor. Coach Ron Rivera had nice things to say about Norman, but made it clear “I’m trusting Dave on this.”
From the moment Norman declared himself one of the top five cornerbacks of all time, it was fairly obvious it was going to be hard for them to find common ground on a contract.
And it appears Gettleman came to the realization that possible extensions for players such as defensive tackles Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei was going to be a better use of the money than one year of a cornerback in a system that allows fifth-round picks to grow into a starting job.