In a shocking move, the Carolina Panthers rescinded the franchise tag from cornerback Josh Norman late Wednesday afternoon, causing an instant buzz on social media for fans of every NFL team begging for their favorite team to sign the star defensive back. The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the few teams who can actually afford to pay what Norman is reportedly looking for and would be absolutely silly to not aggressively pursue his services as soon as possible.
Here's how the current cap situation shakes out, in regards to who has the most room.
The Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers by far have the most room, but I'd objectively classify the Jaguars as a more attractive destination for Norman. For one, the Jaguars appear to have a franchise quarterback in place with Blake Bortles and a young explosive offense. They've also added some defensive talent in free agency where as the 49ers seem like they're about to hit the reset button.
No offense, but I can't see him going to the Browns and the Titans may still have too many holes to make that kind of investment. The Giants just invested a ton of money in both Janoris Jenkins and Olivier Vernon. The Bears and Colts are interesting destinations, though.
But, back to the Jaguars and Norman. General manager David Caldwell should be scrambling to be first in line to talk with the 29-year-old-to-be corner, because they can give him what he's reportedly been asking for from the Panthers, which put negotiations at an impasse. The team earmarked a lot of cash in free agency for Olivier Vernon, even with signing Malik Jackson, and didn't get the deal done.
They should take that money and go aggressively after Norman, they'd be silly not to, even with the signing of Prince Amukamara. You're not going to have all this cap room laying around forever that you can, in essence, freely spend it without worrying about hanging yourself down the line. The team's cap situation in the future is absurdly healthy and a big time deal for someone like Norman wouldn't hinder their ability to keep their budding young talents.
It seems like a no brainer, but we'll see how things shake out.