Josh Norman became a free agent Wednesday. It what can only be described as an interesting turn of events but which have been outlined elsewhere, the Carolina Panthers rescinded their Franchise Tag rights to Norman and thereby made him a free agent.
Josh Norman is a zone cover player. That limits his value. Ask the other corners in the league about him. They all say the same thing.
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) April 21, 2016
San Diego typically puts their corners on man coverage and while Norman could probably be an upgrade over CB Brandon Flowers, he’s going to cost a pretty penny (probably upwards of $15 million/year). On a team that is already allocating more than $27million of cap space on their defensive backfield, San Diego is not a good fit economically or schematically.
It is also worth noting how rare it is for a team to abandon a player of Norman’s caliber in this way. Teams just don’t do this. It has to raise significant red flags for teams. They will want to dig to see if they can find character concerns or reasons not to be concerned. Ultimately though, some team will gamble – and that’s exactly what it will be, a gamble – that there are no underlying character concerns or that those concerns are minimal and Norman will fit in to “their” team.
One philosophy I’ve come across recently is that all sales are emotional and that people look for logical rational to support their decision after-the-fact rather than using logic and reason to make the sales decision in the first place. And that’s what will happen with Norman. Some team will be excited about his capabilities and they will convince themselves that character concerns are unfounded or overstated.
So where will Norman land? Looking through Josh Norman Twitter posts suggests that San Francisco, Jacksonville, Miami, and Cleveland are early front-runners. All four have money/cap space to spend. The Floridian teams would have the advantage of no state income tax. Conversely San Francisco (California) has one of the highest state income tax rate among NFL states.
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