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Josh Norman 'sideswiped' by Panthers' decision to rescind franchise tag

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Caplan: Norman makes Washington 'clear favorite' NFC East champs (2:00)

Adam Caplan breaks down Josh Norman's deal with the Redskins, which makes Norman the highest paid cornerback in the NFL and guarantees $51.1 million. (2:00)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Cornerback Josh Norman didn’t expect to play for any team except the Carolina Panthers in 2016, whether it was with the franchise tag or a long-term deal.

He was blindsided on Wednesday when general manager Dave Gettleman rescinded the franchise tag.

Or as he told Redskins.com after signing a reported five-year, $75 million deal on Friday night, "I got sideswiped – I didn’t see it coming."

The Panthers simply weren’t willing to pay Norman the $15 million a year he believed he could get on the open market. Their best offer, $11 million a year, came at the NFL combine.

Gettleman didn’t back off that. He felt the $13.952 million he was going to commit to Norman with the franchise tag in 2016 could be spent better elsewhere, likely on a long-term deal for defensive tackle Kawann Short.

His philosophy consistently has been not to pay big bucks for defensive backs. That he went as high as $11 million a year showed the respect he has for Norman.

So Norman and the Panthers are moving on. Carolina’s starting secondary as it stands would be Bene Benwikere (rehabbing from a fractured leg), Robert McClain and Brandon Boykin at the nickel spot.

The Panthers probably will add another player in the draft and sign a veteran who isn’t under contract after being released. Ten-year veteran Antonio Cromartie could be an option.

Carolina probably won’t sign an unrestricted free agent because that could forfeit a compensatory pick for Norman in 2017. That pick probably will be a third-rounder.

Norman’s former teammates don’t blame him for going after the money. They showed that on Twitter.

Norman had a breakout season in 2015, his fourth year in the league. He had four interceptions and returned two for touchdowns. He added 18 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries and was named first-team All-Pro.