Scott Fowler

Fowler: Don’t let the money change you, Panthers CB Josh Norman

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is about to be a very rich man, but sometimes that kind of money can be like playing with fire.
Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is about to be a very rich man, but sometimes that kind of money can be like playing with fire. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Noting the sports world:

Josh Norman is about to become a very, very rich man.

I can’t imagine the Carolina Panthers doing anything other than putting the franchise tag on Norman by or before 4 p.m. Tuesday, which means he will be fully guaranteed $13.952 million to play football in 2016. Put it another way, and that’s $872,000 per game for Norman in 2016 if no other contract deal is eventually reached.

The franchise tag will keep other teams away from Norman and allow the Panthers and their star cornerback to continue working toward a longer-term deal until the July 15 deadline.

Both sides would prefer that Norman sign a multiple-year deal with Carolina, although they have differences as to how much Norman should get to commit for that long and how much of the money should be guaranteed (which is the key number in any NFL salary, because not nearly as much of NFL money is guaranteed as it is in the NBA or Major League Baseball).

I just hope Norman’s soon-to-be franchise designation works out better long-term than a couple of the players the Panthers have franchise-tagged in the past – I’m thinking here of defensive end Greg Hardy and punter Todd Sauerbrun. Don’t let the money change you, Josh. There are going to be some serious temptations.

If Norman does receive the franchise tag as expected, he will actually become the sixth Panthers player to earn it. Besides Hardy and Sauerbrun, Jordan Gross, Ryan Kalil and Julius Peppers – the defensive end whom the Panthers paid slightly more than $1 million per game in 2009 and then allowed to leave the next year – were the other three.

▪  I am late to this party because I was off last week, but Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski absolutely should have suspended Grayson Allen for one game for Allen’s second obvious “tripping an opponent” offense in the past month.

I like the gumption and the athleticism Allen plays with, but he didn’t learn his lesson after tripping an opponent the first time against Louisville and did it again vs. Florida State. The ACC dropped the ball on this one by only reprimanding Allen – c’mon, ACC, man up! Light wrist slaps do not help. But Coach K could have easily rectified that error by suspending Allen himself, and he chose not to.

▪  It feels like the Charlotte Hornets have been gone forever, but they are about to play eight of their next nine games at home starting Tuesday night in what should be a win over Phoenix. The home game Friday night vs. Indiana – in heated competition with the Hornets for one of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots – will be a huge one. Charlotte would clinch the tiebreaker with the Pacers with a win.

▪  We used to have a fun office debate around this question: Who is the best athlete that Charlotte has ever produced? There is no debate anymore. Steph Curry, who is about to become the NBA’s two-time Most Valuable Player, has put that to rest.

Curry’s 38-footer to beat Oklahoma City over the weekend in the best NBA game so far this season was astonishing not only because it went in, but also because when the former Davidson star got his feet square and sent it flying, at least 80 percent of the people watching went: “That’s going in.”

From 38 feet?! Yes. And it wasn’t even that surprising. That’s how much Curry has redefined what is possible.

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