Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is in for a big payday

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman may have doubled his offseason pay day.

Jeremy Brevard/Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is headed toward free agency in the spring and a potential monster payday, though the franchise tag will surely be in play to keep him off the market.

With that said, I polled five team contract guys and a half-dozen agents to see what they estimated Norman’s breakout season has done for his value.

The consensus is it’s roughly doubled.

Before the year, Norman was a scrappy player with only 22 starts in three NFL seasons. He was a starter in his rookie year, then he was demoted and then he was back to starting again. As Norman’s scrap with Cam Newton in training camp showed, he was a hothead at times and there were questions about his personality.

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Now, that fire is seen as a positive.

"I say (he was worth) six to eight million because of character concerns," a team contract negotiator said, "but the way he’s playing now, you can live with it and love it."

All of the agents and contract guys polled were in the same $6 million to $8 million range when estimating Norman’s value before the season. The average estimate was $7 million.

The franchise tag for cornerbacks was $13.05 million this season. It will be a tick higher this upcoming season. That will be the starting point for long-term talks between Norman and the Panthers. So his value as a shutdown cornerback is about twice as high as it was before the season as a player with potential that hadn’t yet been tapped.

The Panthers tried to get a deal done with Norman before the season. They were unsuccessful. It’s unclear how close they came to the $7 million price tag, though that probably would’ve gotten it done. Now, they’ll likely be dishing out much more over the next few years to keep Norman in their secondary.

–This excerpt originally appeared in Mike Garafolo’s Six Points column.