“After a number of conversations with Josh’s agent, we realized that a long-term deal was not attainable,” general manager Dave Gettleman said. “We have decided to rescind the franchise tag freeing Josh to immediately become a UFA. We thank Josh for all his contributions and truly wish him well.”
A league source had told ESPN.com on Monday that Norman would not report for voluntary offseason workouts when the Panthers begin their program on April 25.
The franchise tag had guaranteed Norman $13.95 million in 2016.
Norman had been seeking a long-term deal with the Panthers, who under the terms of the franchise tag would have had until July 15 to strike a deal.
The market suggests Norman could get anywhere from $15 million to $16 million in a long-term deal. That would make him the highest-paid corner in the league, with Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets currently setting the standard at $14,024,212.
Gettleman had said at the NFL owners meeting last month he was “very comfortable” with Norman playing under the tag.
In 2015, Norman’s career-high four interceptions helped the Panthers lead the NFL in interceptions (24),total takeaways (39),points off turnovers (148) and turnover differential (plus-20). He contributed 16 passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
In four NFL seasons, Norman has played in 53 regular season games with 38 starts and had 172 tackles, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 35 passes defended. He was selected out of Coastal Carolina by the Panthers in the fifth round (143rd overall) of the 2012 NFL draft.