In a move that surprised many around the league, the Carolina Panthers chose to rescind the franchise tag on Josh Norman since they realized they would not be able to work out a long term deal. Rather than keep him for one year under the franchise tag, the Panthers made him a free agent, and there are plenty of teams out there who still have cap room for him.
The question is, are the Ravens one of them?
The Ravens currently sit at twelve million dollars, but their draft class will cut into the number. However, it is feasible for them to sign Josh Norman, although it would really be un-Ozzie like move to sign a free agent asking for around $16 million per year on a long term deal.
How would the Ravens fit Norman at his price? The first year cap hit would have to be lower, but the Ravens actually have much flexibility in 2017. While they are currently projected to be $11,275,910 under the cap, that is before the team signs this years draft class. The team would have to make some cuts, but that is where the Ravens really have the potential to clear alot of space.
The Ravens have the ability to clear close to $40 million of the 2017 cap by cutting Lardarius Webb ($5.5M savings), Mike Wallace ($5.75M), Eugene Monroe ($4.55M), Elvis Dumervil ($6M), Dennis Pitta ($3.3M), Justin Forsett ($3M), Ben Watson ($3M), Kyle Arrington ($2.1M), Kendrick Lewis ($2.2M) and Jeremy Zuttah ($3.2). Many of these players already have replacements on the roster: Forsett (Buck Allen), Zuttah (John Urschel), Wallace (Breshad Perriman), Webb and Lewis (Terrence Brooks), Watson and Pitta (Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams), and Arrington (just about anyone). The Ravens hope to find long term replacements for Dumervil and Monroe in this years draft.
So the front office can clear the space if they feel Josh Norman is worth it, without having to let all of their own 2017 free agents go. It is likely a pipe dream, but if Norman wants to come there is a chance the 29 year old pro bowler could end up in Baltimore. He would have to be willing to forgo suitors with more money to spend, but if he does decide to come, he would team with Jimmy Smith for possibly the top cornerback tandem in the league.