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Panthers Not Likely to Put the Franchise Tag on Guard Andrew Norwell

Tuesday is the first day NFL teams can apply the tag to players, a window that closes March 6 – about a week before the start of free agency.

Left guard Andrew Norwell is the biggest name among the Panthers’ 12 potential free agents, Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Norwell, who joined the Panthers as an undrafted free agent in 2014, increased his value with an All-Pro season in 2017. Interim general manager Marty Hurney invested heavily at the guard position last summer when he signed Pro Bowler Trai Turner to a four-year, $45 million extension, with $20.5 million guaranteed.

The NFL does not distinguish between tackles and guards/centers when determining the tag value for offensive linemen, which this year is expected to be around $14.3 million.

Teams don’t typically use franchise tags on guards. Former Patriots lineman Logan Mankins was the last guard to be tagged when the Patriots did so in 2011, according to Joel Corry, a former NFL agent who now writes for cbssports.com.

Corry also doesn’t see the Panthers applying the tag to nose tackle Star Lotulelei or kicker Graham Gano, the two other most logical candidates.

Former Panthers GM Dave Gettleman infamously rescinded Josh Norman’s franchise tag in 2016, allowing the Pro Bowl cornerback to become a free agent. Norman signed a five-year, $75 million contract with Washington the same week.

The Panthers tagged defensive tackle Kawann Short last year, but ended up signing Short to a five-year, $80.5 million extension in April.

Lotulelei, the Panthers’ first-round pick in 2013 during Gettleman’s first draft in Charlotte, would cost Carolina around $14.2 million if they tagged him. Given what the Panthers are paying Short, they could allow Lotulelei to walk and give more playing time to Vernon Butler, their first-round pick in 2016.


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