A look at the cornerback position in my series on where the money is for the Carolina Panthers:
Total position spending vs. cap: $7,033,750
Spending vs. league average: 28th
Analysis: General manager Dave Gettleman has been frugal at this position since taking over in 2013. He believes with a strong front seven he can get away without paying for top cornerbacks. Thus, Carolina is 28th in spending at the position. A part of the strategy has been adding a veteran player at a low price. In 2013, it was Drayton Florence. That worked. In 2014, it was Antoine Cason. That didn’t work, but rookie Benwikere stepped in late to fill that role and help Carolina make the playoffs. This season the veteran is Tillman. Carolina also added Houston at a bargain after he missed last season with a toe injury. If one pans out, Benwikere can stay at the nickel spot where he is best. Gettleman’s philosophy on cornerbacks might be put to the test by Norman, who is in the final year of his rookie deal. Norman proved last season to be as close to a shutdown cornerback as Carolina has had in several years. With another strong season he could demand a top 10 cornerback salary that could elevate his cap number to close to $10 million in 2016. It’s hard to imagine Gettleman taking such a leap based on his current philosophy and other priorities, such as extending the deal of linebacker Luke Kuechly.