The Carolina Panthers have not yet been able to lock up their lock-down cornerback with a long-term deal.
And barring an unlikely breakthrough in the negotiations, the team is expected to place the franchise tag on Pro Bowl corner Josh Norman before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Norman, 28, will be guaranteed $13.95 million for the 2016 season after signing the tag, which can be used on one player each year. The two sides can continue working on a long-term contract until July 15.
Panthers officials met with Norman’s agent, Mike George, in Indianapolis last week at the NFL Scouting Combine but little progress has been made, according to a league source.
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Norman is looking for a deal that would pay him among the league’s top corners with an average of $14 million to $15 million a year.
Norman is older than most players hitting free agency for the first time. Norman would be 33 at the end of a five-year contract, but Panthers coach Ron Rivera said last week he’s not concerned about Norman’s age.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said at the combine he had no worries that Norman would react unfavorably to a tag, calling Norman “a pro.”
Norman said last week he understands the contract talks weren’t personal.
“It’s a business at the end of the day, and nothing is ever personal,” Norman told ESPN.com. “It’s not personal with them. It’s not personal with (Rivera) or position coaches. Nothing is ever personal.”
Norman became an All-Pro for the first time in 2015 when he finished with four interceptions (including two he returned for touchdowns) and an NFL-best 54.0 passer rating against.
Norman would become the sixth player in Carolina history to receive the tag, joining punter Todd Sauerbrun (2003), left tackle Jordan Gross (2008), defensive end Julius Peppers (2009), center Ryan Kalil (2011) and defensive end Greg Hardy (2013).
The Panthers ended up paying Hardy $13.1 million for one game in 2013 after he was arrested on domestic violence charges nine days after signing the franchise tender.