Inside the Panthers

Panthers CB Josh Norman ranks himself as one of the top cornerbacks in NFL history

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman answers questions during a media interview session at the San Jose Convention Center on Thursday, February 4, 2016 in preparation for Super Bowl 50.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman answers questions during a media interview session at the San Jose Convention Center on Thursday, February 4, 2016 in preparation for Super Bowl 50. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

The Carolina Panthers just issued the franchise tag on Josh Norman, meaning he’s assured to make $13.9 million next season.

The tag came Tuesday after the two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement on a long-term deal. And Thursday on ESPN, Norman may have revealed partly why the sides couldn’t reach that deal.

Norman ranked himself in a tie for the fifth-best cornerback in NFL history.

The 28-year-old cornerback ranked Dick “Night Train” Lane No. 1, followed by Mel Blount, Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson and himself in a tie with Darrelle Revis.

The top three players are Hall of Famers with Woodson guaranteed to make the Hall when he’s eligible. Revis has been considered the top cornerback in the league for several years, and he’ll likely end up in the Hall of Fame, as well.

Revis signed a five-year deal worth $70 million last offseason with the Jets when he was 29 and a four-time first-team All Pro. Revis got $39 million in fully guaranteed money in that contract. Norman is 28 and coming off a four-interception, two-touchdown season where he earned first-team All-Pro honors for the first time in his career.

So if Norman is ranking himself in a tie with Revis for fifth-best all-time, it’s reasonable to assume he wants to be paid at least as much as Revis.

“It’s just good business at the end of the day,” Norman said on ESPN Thursday morning about his continued contract talks. “I feel like if you put a product on the field that people enjoy and love to watch, that product has to come with a price. I think everything in life has a pricetag on it.

“I know I’m one of the best in the league in doing what I do. I work at that. My work rate has shown that. My numbers have shown that.”

Norman and the Panthers have until July 15 to reach a contract extension. Norman, who’s from Greenwood, S.C., and went to Coastal Carolina, made it clear he doesn’t want to leave the Carolinas, but he also wants to get paid.

“God, la familia and football,” Norman said of his three core principles. “And la familia just a little more than football.”

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