NFL Rumors: Josh Norman Leaving Carolina Panthers For San Francisco 49ers

NFL rumors are swirling around Josh Norman. Many expected him to be with the Carolina Panthers next season. However, management decided to pull the franchise tag. That made Norman an unrestricted free agent. It also meant that he is now free to sign with any team in the National Football League. As one of the best corner backs around, there is plenty of interest. According to ESPN, the San Francisco 49ers definitely want to add Norman to their defense.

Very few people in the NFL would have expected Josh Norman to be available via free agency this year. That’s why general managers didn’t bother calling him whenever players became available to be signed. Norman can shut down wide receivers on his own. He can also neutralize some of the top stars in the National Football League. That’s a luxury that teams don’t generally allow to get away. The Carolina Panthers made a very questionable move by letting Norman go.

San Francisco 49ers corner back Tramaine Brock Tramaine Brock [Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images]The loss of Josh Norman is especially damaging at this point in time. The Carolina Panthers are coming off of a Super Bowl appearance. They had a dominant season where they won all but one game. Starting quarterback Cam Newton became one of the best players in the NFL. Their window of opportunity to win a championship is open right now. Losing someone as talented as Norman sets them back at a very bad time.

A team that is trying to reopen their window of opportunity is the San Francisco 49ers. There are a ton of holes on the roster right now. Someone like Josh Norman can help speed up the process. The 29-year-old would instantly provide the team with a starting corner back. Norman would automatically be the best defensive back for the Niners. He might even be the best defender overall.

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid Eric Reid [Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]Kenneth Acker, Tramaine Brock, and Dontae Johnson would compete for the other starting corner back spot. The good thing for the San Francisco 49ers is that these three guys would not be tasked with defending the best wide receivers in the NFL. That’s what Josh Norman gets paid to do. The Niners can feel a lot more comfortable with Acker, Brock, and Johnson guarding the likes of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams or Atlanta Falcons star Mohamed Sanu.

The safeties for the San Francisco 49ers would also benefit tremendously from the presence of Josh Norman. Jimmy Ward, Eric Reid, and Jaquiski Tartt are talented but young players. Their job would be a lot easier if they knew that Norman could cover one side of the field. Antoine Bethea is the veteran of the group. He would love to have another talented player around to help carry the burden of leadership.

San Francisco 49ers safety Antoine Bethea Antoine Bethea [Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images]Since he is one of the best, the San Francisco 49ers are going to have competition for Josh Norman and his services. The Jacksonville Jaguars have spent a ton of money in free agency to upgrade their defense. Norman would make them that much better. The Oakland Raiders spent at on of money as well. They acquired Sean Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs. Pairing him up with Norman would give the Raiders one of the best corner back tandems in the NFL.

It’s not very often that a top flight player becomes available this late in free agency. The NFL Draft is right around the corner. Josh Norman being available means that every team that was looking to acquire a corner back from the college ranks will be having second thoughts. Signing someone like him means that general managers can spend their high draft picks on other areas of need.

[Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]