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Josh Norman a free agent after Panthers rescind franchise tag; Could Dolphins jump into market?

The Miami Dolphins have been frugal in free agency this year. Could they suddenly see a target worth breaking the bank?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that, a player considered the top of his position is on the free agent market:

The Miami Dolphins have a need at cornerback, looking for at least a starter to play opposite Byron Maxwell. Josh Norman is unexpectedly a free agent now, and is consider one of, if not the, best cornerbacks in the game. Need and talent would match, but the Dolphins would have to be extremely aggressive to land Norman.

According to the NFL Players Association, Miami currently has $19.541 million in salary cap space. It is the seventh most cap space in the league, which means the Dolphins could still be in the spending market, though teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars ($52.5 million cap space) and San Francisco 49ers ($52.6 million cap space) have more than enough to chase anyone they want at this point.

It would be a long shot for the Dolphins, and it would tie up more money for a team that already has a quarterback and a defensive tackle averaging just under $20 million a season, each. The Dolphins have gotten good at creative ways to work the salary cap, and they could continue to do that if they want to chase Norman.

Can Miami afford to get into the big money sweepstakes for Norman? Can they afford not to chase (arguably) the top cornerback in the league?