NFL

Josh Norman Has Reached Elite Status

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Whenever you have a debate about who are the top cornerbacks in the league, names like Richard Sherman, Joe Haden and Darrelle Revis are sure to be brought up, and rightfully so.

It’s time to add another name to the list.

I’m talking about none other than Carolina Panthers Josh Norman.

If the season were to end today, Norman would without question be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Through four games, Norman leads the NFL in interceptions (four), but what’s even more impressive is his ability to turn those picks into points. Norman has returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns, which is a dynamic skill set that separates him from the competition. 

“I’m not (just) another cornerback,” Norman said. “I’m a unique. I’m something else. I’m not those other guys.”

Norman is different from those ‘other guys’ in another respective, as he entered the league with little to zero expectations. After all, Norman was selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft and he came out of Coastal Carolina, which isn’t necessarily a hotbed for professional talent.

During his first three seasons, Norman accumulated three picks to go along with 18 passes defended.

While those are solid numbers, the 27-year-old’s play thus far this season may warrant a big payday this off-season.

Don’t believe me?

Just look at Byron Maxwell from a season ago. He earned a six-year, $63 million contract this past off-season and if you look at the contracts of guys like Patrick Peterson, Sherman and Revis, you’ll see why Norman will have plenty of leverage if he continues this level of high play.

“Look man, you can write whatever you want,” Norman stressed when asked about future negotiations. “I’m having fun. And I’m going to continue to have fun regardless. Either way it goes, it’s going to get done. The number’s going to be the number, no matter what. But, at the same time, we’re having fun.”

That’s exactly the kind of answer you expect from a player representing a 4-0 team because right now isn’t the time for any distractions. Also, Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman isn’t known for negotiating contracts during the season anyway. 

“I pretty much don’t even care about it,” Norman said about his next contract. “All I care about is winning games and being the best I can be on the field at that time and in that moment. Whenever it happens, it happens.”

With that being said, it may be in Gettleman’s best interest to work something out sooner rather than later. The longer this drags out, the more Norman should be worth and in a league that is so pass happy, having one of the league’s top cornerbacks is a luxury Carolina doesn’t want to see walk away.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.