Panthers: Norwell Tag and Trade Opportunity

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Andrew Norwell
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Andrew Norwell /

A franchise tag and potential trade could be the future for Carolina Panthers guard Andrew Norwell this offseason…

The Carolina Panthers currently find themselves in a tag and trade situation that may actually work in their favor. The New York Giants have been very vocal about how highly they value offensive guard Andrew Norwell and the Panthers should be able to leverage themselves in a position to gain future draft picks.

The last time the Panthers found themselves in this situation was in 1998 to acquire defensive tackle Sean Gilbert. In order to acquire the rights for Gilbert the Panthers gave up their first-round draft picks for both the 1999 and 2000 NFL Draft. This was after Gilbert decided to sit out his franchise tag year for the Washington Redskins and he ultimately only played four years of a seven-year contract.

Over the past four seasons the Panthers offensive line has ranked in the middle of the pack at No. 16 in the league, allowing an average of 36.5 sacks per year and 73 quarterback pressures. While losing a two-time All-Pro may be a devastating short-term loss, it could also be the change that this unit needs to develop into an elite unit.

The offensive line has a good foundation in place, even if Carolina loses Norwell. They will still be entering the 2018 season with two other All-Pro linemen in tackle, Daryl Williams and center, Ryan Kalil. Fellow guard Trai Turner has recently been a perennial Pro-Bowl selection and first-year lineman Taylor Moton looked good during his limited snaps. If there was a time for this unit to get revamped, it would be now.

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The Giants and former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman especially, have been advertising how aggressively they wish to pursue this undrafted “hog molly”. Odds are they will have an offer and an extension readily available and it may be one opportunity the Panthers have to secure future drafts selections.

If the Giants back out and look elsewhere for a left guard this might be a unit where the Panthers could afford to devote a larger amount of salary. Carolina is opening with the 14th highest paid NFL offensive line. Comparatively, the Philadelphia Eagles will be opening the 2018 season with the highest paid offensive line in football.

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This could potentially be a win-win with the worst case scenario being quarterback Cam Newton starts a season with the same five starters protecting him for just the second time in his career. The best case would be if the Panthers could squeeze a few more selections from the Giants.