Does Josh Norman Make Redskins Title Threats?
The Washington Redskins switched from Robert Griffin III to Kirk Cousins in 2015, and just like that, won the NFC East title and were back in the playoffs. Their strong run wouldn’t last long, as they ran into a better Packers team and were bounced immediately in round one.
Progress, however, was made. The same could be said on the defensive side of the ball this week, with reports confirming that the Redskins have beefed up a problem area – their pass defense – by adding former Carolina Panthers stud cornerback Josh Norman to a massive long-term deal.
I’m told CB Josh Norman has agreed to terms with the #Redskins.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 22, 2016
The new contract, reportedly worth $75 million over five years, secures one of the league’s top shutdown corners, who comes over from a Panthers team he just helped go 15-1 and get to the Super Bowl.
Norman had a rapid rise from a talented young cornerback to one that has declared himself one of the greatest of all-time, and at 28 years old, it’s worth wondering if he’s already entered his prime.
That had the Panthers concerned about a long-term deal, both because of the financial obligation, as well as the very real possibility that Norman could being a steep decline as quickly as two years from now, when he hits the age of 30.
Of course, that is just speculation. Norman hit his stride just last season and very well could remain at this elite level for a number of years. There is no doubt the Redskins are paying for that to be the case, and that Carolina didn’t deem the “headache” of a potential hold out or not being able to hammer out a long-term deal worth the trouble.
The trouble is indeed now Washington’s, but it could very well be a win-win situation. Per reports, Norman’s huge contract really only restricts the Redskins for the next two years, right about when Norman could slide into that dangerous 30-years old range and start to slow down.
Reality of Redskins CB Josh Norman’s deal: 2 yrs, $36.5 million, fully guaranteed; $500K in per-game roster bonuses in ’17. Then, options.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 23, 2016
If he does, the Redskins could opt to part ways, or regardless of age, if his performance or attitude become an issue, the team could go in a different direction. And of course, if Norman is the stud defensive back he claims to be and the Redskins are winning because of him, they can go ahead with the rest of his deal, as it stands.
Super Bowl Aspirations
That’s the really interesting part. It’s true that any signing – particularly a high profile and big dollar sign one – is risky, but what if Norman is actually worth all of this green?
It’s a plausible notion, as Norman combines with DeAngelo Hall’s move to safety and a studly pass rush led by Ryan Kerrigan and Junior Gallette to potentially give Washington a very deadly defense from top to bottom.
The only problem on paper is wondering whether the rest of the division is ready to take the Redskins down and if their offense can handle the pressure of living up to the expectations last year built up for 2016.
That could be a lot to ask out of Kirk Cousins, Matt Jones and others on offense, but after rolling through 2015 with a suspect defense (28th in points allowed and 25th in passing yards allowed), the addition of Norman certainly brings a new level of hope to the table in D.C.
Washington had previously started off 2016 with less than average Super Bowl odds (55/1), but it’s safe to say they might get a mild bump after adding one of the top pass defenders in the entire league.
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