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NFL Free Agency: Josh Norman hits free agency after franchise tag rescinded by Panthers

In a shocking turn of events, the Carolina Panthers are letting All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman hit the open market after taking away his franchise tag.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

For the second time in as many weeks, a high-caliber NFL player has suddenly become a free agent with no explanation as to why.

Last week, it was defensive tackle Dominique Easley, the New England Patriots' first-round pick in 2014, who was waived by the team in an unexpected move Wednesday.

But while Easley was a good player at his position,  Josh Norman has been one of the game's best corners. However, the Carolina Panthers appear to be moving on from him after rescinding their franchise tag originally placed on Norman before free agency opened this offseason.

The 28-year-old defender, Norman reportedly turned down a contract offer of $7 million per year last season, then went out and proved to be one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. He started every game, finishing with a career-high four interceptions, two interception returns for touchdowns and 18 passes defensed.

Norman was named to his first Pro Bowl and garnered All-Pro honors for the first time. He also was a big reason why Carolina made it to Super Bowl 50.

Something had to have gone on behind the scenes for the Panthers to just take away the tag one week before the draft and let Norman hit the open market. If there's nothing wrong with him physically, mentally or off the field, he's going to command a contract paying him upwards of $10 million per year from someone.