Josh Norman Was Released Based on Cap Space

Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman didn't hesitate when asked what he could do with the $13.952 million in salary-cap space he got after rescinding the franchise tag on cornerback Josh Norman. "A lot," Gettleman said Thursday, the day after he made the Pro Bowl cornerback an unrestricted free agent. Gettleman said the flexibility he got in removing Norman's cap number and the unlikelihood that a long-term deal would be reached with the 28-year-old ultimately led to the decision to move on from him. Norman was seeking what was projected he could get on the open market -- between $15 million and $16 million a year. By clearing his tag number, the Panthers now have approximately $31 million in salary-cap space. That provides the flexibility to sign Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short to a long-term deal, as Gettleman has said he wants to do. "I've said it before," Gettleman said during what initially was a pre-draft news conference. "I struggle with our coaches working their fannies off, developing players and letting them walk. I don't like that. I've always believed that the cap can be a great equalizer. I really believe it penalizes teams that draft well. "You have to understand you can't keep everybody. It's impossible. So now you have to decide who you're going to allow to graduate. We've got some really good, young talent. This was a business decision. That's what this is folks, a business decision." Norman never signed the tag, which gave Gettleman the flexibility to rescind the offer. Depending on what Norman gets financially in free agency, the Panthers could get as high as a third-round pick as compensation for the 2012 fifth-round pick. Under the compensatory formula, a team is entitled to a compensatory pick if it loses more unrestricted free agents than it gains. When Norman signs with another team, the Panthers will have lost three UFAs and signed two. Ten teams had contacted Norman's representation as of Thursday morning.

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