WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Redskins made a huge splash in free agency and solidified their secondary by adding All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. Norman’s deal is for $75 million over five years, with $36.5 million guaranteed plus a $15 million signing bonus. But for Washington, this move will likely require […]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Redskins made a huge splash in free agency and solidified their secondary by adding All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman, formerly of the Carolina Panthers.
Norman’s deal is for $75 million over five years, with $36.5 million guaranteed plus a $15 million signing bonus. But for Washington, this move will likely require additional moves to provide them some salary cap relief.
CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Rich Tandler feels those moves will be on the offensive side of the ball.
“I think the deal increases the likelihood that the Redskins will draft a wide receiver early,” Tandler said. “They had the 2017 cap room to be able to re-sign one or both of Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. Now they may have to choose to let both of them go.
“By making this deal, the Redskins are gambling that they will be able to get Kirk Cousins under contract this year or at least prior to the start of 2017. If they need to franchise tag him again it will cost $24 million. With Norman set to carry a $20 million cap hit, that would mean that two players would be taking up 26 percent of a cap that should be around $165 million.”
These cap issues are important because Washington has looming roster concerns after this upcoming season. Locking up tight end Jordan Reed long term is critical, as well as solidifying their pass rush with Junior Galette and Chris Baker, who are key signings that need to be made.
Although Washington knew some moves needed to be made before the Norman signing, the moves most certainly have to be addressed quickly. However, Norman adds so much to the defense that the “cap casualties” that come with him may be tolerable.
Norman was once benched in Carolina for being “too soft.” That lit a fire under Norman that turned him into a vital cog in the Panthers’ defensive scheme. Last season he defended 18 passes and forced six turnovers (4 INTs, 2 forced fumbles) and earned the label of a “shutdown” corner. Still, some analysts feel Norman was a “product of his system” as he played an astounding 81.6 percent of snaps in zone. For Washington, that is viewed as a huge positive since their defensive scheme doesn’t contain much man-to-man defense.
Norman also gets to test himself against New York Giants All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in highly anticipated matchups in Week 3 and Week 17. After last season’s matchup where the two literally traded blows on the field, the two games are definitely worth circling on the calendar. The Panthers will also face Washington in Week 15, so Norman will have his chance to prove his worth to his former team.
“He’s a good player, not great. Only four picks this year and seven for his career. Great in that scheme,” one NFL defensive backs coach said. “I like his competitiveness and toughness, but his great picks are one inch from disaster.”
The risk for Washington is worth the reward considering the secondary gave up 258 passing yards a game last season. Adding Norman gives the Redskins that defensive piece that will make teams think twice before testing his side of the field, and that should already make them better without even playing a snap.