Panthers Offseason News & Rumors Roundup: Carolina "Far Apart" On Long-Term Deal With Josh Norman

We're already a few weeks into NFL Free Agency, and while the Carolina Panthers haven't been among the most active teams early, they might not be done making moves yet. With that in mind, here are all of the interesting rumors and news tidbits around the Panthers.

Panthers, Josh Norman "far apart" on long-term deal
Cornerback Josh Norman emerged as one of the best defensive players in the NFL last season, and it was no surprise when the Panthers franchise tagged him to keep him in Carolina while they work out a long-term deal. However, ESPN's David Newton reports that both sides are still "very far apart" in negotiations:

Panthers GM Dave Gettleman said he is comfortable going into the season with cornerback Josh Norman playing with the franchise tag if a long-term deal can't be reached. Gettleman and Norman's representative have met at the NFL owners meeting in Boca Raton,Fla., but remain far apart on average salary for a four-year deal, league sources said. Norman has yet to sign the tag.

Norman had 56 tackles with four interceptions - two of which he returned for touchdowns - and three forced fumbles last season.

Norman could skip offseason workouts
Due to the contract dispute between the two sides, Norman could skip offseason workouts, according to the Charlotte Observer's Joseph Person:

Norman told the Observer recently that he’s not in any hurry to sign the franchise tag that will guarantee him $13.95 million in 2016. The Panthers have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal with Norman, but the two sides remain far apart in their contract talks, league sources said Monday.

Unless there’s significant progress in the negotiations or Norman softens his stance about signing the tender, he could miss the voluntary workouts and organized team activities and possibly the mandatory June minicamp.

Teams can fine players for skipping minicamp. But if Norman hasn’t signed his franchise tender by the June 13 minicamp, he wouldn’t be under contract and wouldn’t be subject to fines. 

Panthers pick up option on Star Lotulelei
Carolina will pick up the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Star Lotulelei's rookie contract, Newton reports.

Lotulelei had 22 tackles with one sack last season.

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Related Topics: Panthers News, Panthers Rumors, Star Lotulelei, Josh Norman, NFL News