It would cost the team $14.3 million to tag the player Carolina got as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State in 2014.
Would the Panthers like to keep Norwell, who, according to Pro Football Focus, was the only lineman in the NFL not to allow a sack or quarterback hit last season? Yes.
Can they afford to sign him to a long-term deal? That depends on how steep the asking price is by Norwell and agent Drew Rosenhaus. According to one report, the New York Giants, with former Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman now running the show, are prepared to make a big run at Norwell in free agency.
The Panthers have about $20 million in salary-cap space, so they can’t just open the checkbook, particularly for a guard.
So the tag really isn’t an option here.
But the Panthers have used the tag on two offensive linemen in the past -- tackle Jordan Gross in 2008 and center Ryan Kalil in 2011. Those made sense at the time to keep first- and second-round draft picks.
Here’s a look at Carolina’s interesting tag history as teams begin using it Tuesday:
Todd Sauerbrun, P, 2003 -- $1.47 million
He reached a four-year extension during Week 2 of the season, then in December of 2004 was charged with driving under the influence. Later that year, he was linked to steroid use during an investigation into a South Carolina doctor. He was traded to Denver before the 2005 season for punter Jason Baker and a seventh-round pick.
Jordan Gross, OT, 2008 -- $7.45 million
He made the Pro Bowl while under the tag and was rewarded the next year with a six-year, $56.4 million deal that made him one of the leagues’ highest-paid linemen. He made the Pro Bowl two other seasons before retiring after the 2013 season.
Julius Peppers, DE, 2009 -- $16.7 million
This was Peppers’ last year on the Carolina roster before he returned for the 2017 season. He played in 16 games and had 10.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl, then moved on to Chicago the next year with a six-year, $91.5 million deal.
Ryan Kalil, C, 2011 -- $10.1 million
He wound up signing a six-year, $49 million deal that made him the highest-paid center in league history. He made the Pro Bowl this season and then two others. He recently announced that 2018 would be his last season.
Greg Hardy, DE, 2014 -- $13.1 million
A few months after signing the tag, Hardy was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend. He played in the opener and had a sack, was inactive for Week 2 and spent the rest of the season on the commissioner’s exempt list while facing domestic violence charges.
Josh Norman, CB, 2016 -- $13.9 million
The 2015 Pro Bowl selection ultimately had the tag rescinded by then-Panthers GM Gettleman and was signed by Washington to a five-year, $75 million deal. Gettleman said the tag was rescinded after a realization that a long-term deal was not attainable.
Kawann Short, DT, 2017 -- $13.6 million
The 2015 Pro Bowl selection never played under the tag, signing a five-year, $80.5 million deal before the season that made him among the highest-paid interior linemen in the league.