1:38pm: Coming into Friday with less than $12MM in cap space, Washington looks to have backloaded the cornerback’s deal, with Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac.com tweeting Norman’s 2016 cap number will be $8MM. The team has set payouts of $17MM and $20MM to Norman in 2017 and ’18, respectively, but can reasonably get out of the deal after the 2017 season. Should Washington come to regret this contract, it can move on from Norman after 2017 with a $9MM dead money blow, Ginnitti reports.
SATURDAY, 8:45am: Albert Breer of the NFL Network describes the contract as essentially a two-year deal (via Twitter). The $36.5MM in guaranteed money will be paid over the first two seasons, and Norman will also receive a $500K per-game roster bonus in 2017.
After that, it will be up to Washington. Breer notes that the organization will have to make a decision by March 2018, as that’s when Norman’s injury guarantee (around $13.5MM) becomes fully guaranteed.
FRIDAY, 9:49pm: Norman received a $15MM signing bonus, and will earn $20MM total in 2016, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
7:34pm: Washington has officially announced the signing.
6:39pm: Free agent corner Josh Norman has agreed to terms with Washington, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link). Norman will sign a five-year, $75MM deal that includes $50MM in guarantees, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links).
Norman had been visiting Washington’s facilities all day, and the club was reportedly trying to lock up Norman without letting him leave for other visits. Late interest from New Orleans clouded matters, as reports within the past hour had indicated that Norman was deciding between Washington and the Saints, but it appears that he’s decided to head to the national’s capital.
Ever since the Panthers shockingly rescinded Norman’s franchise tag earlier this week, the star cornerback had been drawing interest from all corners of the league. The Jaguars, Buccaneers, Bears, Titans, 49ers, Dolphins, Steelers, Jets, and Falcons were all linked to Norman, while Carolina GM Dave Gettleman yesterday declined to shut the door on a possible reunion. Washington and San Francisco (and given today’s reports, New Orleans) were thought to be Norman’s most serious suitors.
Norman had reportedly been targeting $14MM+ annually, and per Rapoport, Norman will have surpassed that total — a $15MM yearly salary would make Norman the highest-paid corner in the league. In terms of guaranteed money, Norman’s $50MM would also rank first among corners, and by a significant margin — Darrelle Revis would be second with $39MM in guaranteed money. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if that $30MM figure is fully guaranteed, or simply for injury only. Still, given that Norman would have earned only $13.952MM under the franchise tag with the Panthers, he comes out a clear winner.
Norman, 28, enjoyed a career-year in 2015 as he was named to the All Pro first team and selected for his first Pro Bowl. After producing career highs in both interceptions (four) and passes defensed (18), Norman is in great position as he demands a multi-year payday. Norman was well-regarded by advanced metrics as well, finishing as the league’s 12th-best corner by Pro Football Focus’ grades.
Washington will now field one of the better corner tandems in the NFL, with Norman teaming with Bashaud Breeland in the defensive backfield. Additionally, Norman will head to the NFC East, where he’ll face the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. — with whom he notably sparred last season — twice per year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.