Free agency had all but died down in the last few weeks but the Carolina Panthers just threw a wrench into teams’ plans as they prepare for the 2016 NFL Draft. Frustrated with cornerback Josh Norman and his unwillingness to negotiate, the team rescinded the franchise tag placed on Norman and let him reach unrestricted free agency.
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Considered the top defensive back on the market before being franchise tagged, Norman is going to demand a considerable contract, one that likely makes him the highest paid cornerback in the NFL. There aren’t many teams in the league who can swallow that big of a deal, but one team is the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Pro Football Focus thinks the Jaguars are the top fit for the star cornerback:
"The Jags somehow still have money to burn, with around $53 million in cap space, and their best corner is Davon House. Norman would represent a monster signing for the team, which has shown willing as recently as a month ago to overpay in order to snag a key target."
Unsurprisingly, the Jaguars have reportedly shown interest already.
The prevailing logic is quite simple – the Jaguars are still in dire need of defensive playmakers and they have more than enough money to make a serious run at Norman. With Davon House and Prince Amukamara already on the roster, Norman would give the Jaguars a formidable rotation of defensive backs. After whiffing on Olivier Vernon, the Jaguars would be smart to re-appropriate those funds for Norman.
Things will likely move quickly with Josh Norman and I would be shocked if he wasn’t signed with a team by the end of the week. Cornerback wasn’t the top need heading into the draft, but the suspension of Aaron Colvin leaves a pretty big hole in the defensive back rotation. Norman would start right away and give the Jaguars two blue-chip, established defensive stars with Malik Jackson in the middle of the defensive line.
The Jaguars need to make a run at Norman.