The Redskins have released cornerback Josh Norman, according to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). Some believed that new Redskins head coach and old friend Ron Rivera would keep Norman on board, but his outsized contract ultimately pushed him out of the picture.
Norman was at odds with the Redskins last year and the club tried to shop him at the deadline. Towards the end of the season, he missed time due a reported illness and saw his snap count dwindle. He wound up playing in just 12 games total and recorded 40 tackles, his lowest career showing for any season with double-digit appearances.
The advanced metrics also showed that he lost a step or three in 2019. Norman graded out as the third-worst qualified cornerback in PFF’s rankings with a putrid 45.6 overall score. It was a precipitous fall for the 32-year-old, who was once one of the league’s best.
Norman joined the Redskins on a five-year, $75MM deal in April of 2016 following a messy breakup with the Panthers. At the start of the offseason, the Panthers employed the franchise tag to keep Norman from testing free agency – a one-year, $14MM deal. Then, they hit a stalemate in long-term talks when Norman demanded roughly $16MM per season. The Panthers stunned everyone by rescinding the tag and the Redskins were happy to pounce on the opportunity.
At the time, Norman profiled as an absolute game-changer. In 2015, he was named to the All Pro first team and notched career highs in interceptions (four) and passes defensed (18). In that season, he was PFF’s No. 12 ranked CB.
With drama throughout the organization and issues on both sides of the ball, the Redskins have been mired in an absolute rut for years. Norman, never one to pull punches, was openly critical of Washington throughout.
Cornerback now profiles as one of the Redskins’ top needs this offseason, and they’ll have a bit of extra cap room to land a new cover man. Panthers free agent James Bradberry – one of Rivera’s faves from their time together in Carolina – figures to be heavily connected to the Redskins as they reconfigure their secondary. For his part, Bradberry says he wouldn’t mind a reunion, though staying with the Panthers would be his top choice.
By releasing Norman, the Redskins will save $12.5MM against the 2020 salary cap with just $3MM in dead money.
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