Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman has been seemingly everywhere this offseason – at the “Batman v Superman” premiere, on the sets of several national sports networks and in south Florida for some fun and sun.
But one place Norman won’t be is at Bank of America Stadium next week for the start of the team’s offseason workouts.
Norman, who has yet to sign his franchise tag worth $13.95 million for this season, plans to skip the Panthers’ offseason program unless there is significant progress made on a long-term contract, a source with knowledge of the situation said Monday.
It’s long been expected that Norman would be a no-show for the voluntary workouts, which begin April 25.
He wants to be paid among the league’s top corners (in the $14 million to $16 million range). But the two sides have talked recently, but remain far apart on an agreement, the source said.
Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman said at the NFL annual meetings last month he would be “very comfortable” if Norman plays this season under the tag. The Panthers have until July 15 to sign Norman to a multiyear deal.
Gettleman and Panthers coach Ron Rivera have downplayed the idea that the Norman contract situation could become a distraction for a team that set a franchise record with 15 regular-season victories in 2015 and advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in team history.
Norman also could opt to hold out for the start of training camp, which begins in late July in Spartanburg.
But ultimately the Panthers would still control Norman’s rights. He also runs the risk of getting injured while working out on his own, a scenario in which the Panthers could conceivably rescind the tag.
Carolina is starting its offseason program a week later than most teams to give players an extra break after a long season that culminated with a 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50.
Their on-field drills begin May 24, followed by a four-day mandatory minicamp in June. Norman has been at the stadium several times this offseason, according to sources.
But barring a break in the contract impasse, he won’t be there next week.