The signing of free agent Brent Grimes doesn’t mean the Buccaneers are out of the cornerback market. In fact, many still think Tampa Bay could be targeting a cornerback in the first round with their No. 9 overall pick in next week’s NFL Draft.
But by rescinding the franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman as Carolina did on Wednesday, the Panthers could have completely changed the complexity of the draft for Tampa Bay, if the Buccaneers are able to negotiate a deal for the Pro Bowl corner.
Carolina initially placed the franchise tender of Norman this past spring, which would have paid him $13.85 million for the upcoming 2016 season. But something apparently changed, and on Wednesday the Panthers removed that designation, making the 28-year old an immediate free agent. Following the news, Charlotte Observer writer Joe Person reported there were a handful of teams interested in the testy but talented cornerback, and the Buccaneers were one of those teams.
While Bucs fans – and presumably many members of the organization – would love to see Norman in red and pewter, other teams reportedly are interested in Norman, including the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and San Francisco 49ers who have approximately $53 million in available cap room. The Bucs have close to $16 million of available space, but could create considerably more with a handful of cuts.
Norman would immediately be inserted as a starter opposite Grimes, and the Bucs and their fans would feel comfortable that arguably their weakest position in 2015, would instantly become one of their strongest. Norman has seven career interceptions, with four of those coming last season, including two interceptions returned for a touchdown. On his career, Norman has also added 181 tackles, 36 pass breakups and and four forced fumbles.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.