Josh Norman

Extra Points: Browns, Redskins, Cardinals

The Browns‘ previous regime wasn’t the only target for new general manager John Dorsey today, as he also added some pointed words for wide receiver Kenny Britt — whom Dorsey waived earlier this week — on Thursday morning. “I have no problem making that decision,” Dorsey told reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “From a cultural standpoint I don’t think he fits in the prototypical character point of what I’m looking for in terms of a leader. He did not live up to his expectations as a player.” Dorsey went on to say Britt “may have a higher opinion of himself than I have of him as a player, so I thought that was easy.” Britt, who signed a four-year, $32.5MM deal with Cleveland in March, is now with the Patriots on a cheap two-year contract.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Cornerback Josh Norman is fewer than two years into a five-year contract with the Redskins, but following back-to-back blowout losses, and second consecutive season that will end without a postseason berth, the All Pro defensive back sounds frustrated, according to Kimberley A. Martin of the Washington Post. “I came here to win a championship,” Norman said. “If we’re not doing that, what are we doing? Why are we here? Because I’m not going to be a part of something that’s not going to go forward and win a championship. That’s serious. I don’t care about the money.” Norman is currently struggling through his worst campaign since 2013, but Washington’s pass defense nonetheless ranks 11th by DVOA.
  • When Bruce Arians had preliminary thoughts of retirement following the 2016 season, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim “looked into” Sean McVay as a potential replacement, reports Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. McVay, of course, has turned the Rams into a contender in his first season as head coach, and Breer suggests that Keim’s interest in the former Redskins offensive coordinator could hint at what type of candidates Arizona would look at if Arians retires this offseason. That could potentially mean that Keim and the rest of the Cardinals front office would search for both youth and an offensive mind if they are forced to find a new head coach.
  • Jerry Jones isn’t the only owner who believes the NFL should “get out of the investigation business,” per Breer, who adds many in league circles think the NFL headquarters has become “bloated” with staffers. Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t going anywhere soon, as he recently signed an extension through 2024, but several of his underlings could be on the outs. COO Tod Leiweke, chief marketing officer Dawn Hudson, special counsel Lisa Friel, EVP of health and safety Jeff Miller, and general counsel Jeff Pash could all be let go or reassigned, says Breer.
  • The Browns, Patriots, and Texans have all expressed interest in Raiders practice squad offensive lineman Fadol Brown, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who first reported Wednesday that numerous clubs were reaching out to Brown. “I don’t think I’m going to be here next week, to be honest,” Brown said. An undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss, Brown has spent the entirety of the 2017 campaign on Oakland’s practice squad. In a predraft profile, Lance Zierlein of NFL.comsaid Brown “sets a strong edge” in the run game but is a poor pass rusher due to “lazy” hands.

Redskins’ Josh Norman To Miss Time

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman will miss four weeks with a rib fracture and related lung issues, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Norman first hinted at the news himself on Twitter.

Josh Norman (vertical)

[RELATED: Trent Williams Week-To-Week With Knee Injury]

Norman was forced out of Monday night’s game against the Chiefs, but there was initially hope that he would be able to play in Washington’s post-bye game against San Francisco on Oct. 15. That won’t be the case as Norman needs some additional time to heal.

The placement of the Redskins’ Week 5 bye will help them here, but they’re still facing three games without one their top cornerback. After facing the Niners in Week 6, the 2-2 Redskins will take on the rival Eagles in Philadelphia and then return home for a showdown with the Cowboys. Norman, it seems, is on track to return for the team’s Nov. 5 game in Seattle.

Norman has a 79.7 overall score from Pro Football Focus so far this season, down a tick from his best work in 2015 (87.7) and 2016 (81).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Redskins, Norman, Giants

Today’s look at the NFC East:

  • Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has a rib fracture and some minor damage to the lining of one of his lungs as a result, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). However, he has not been ruled out for Washington’s post-bye game against San Francisco on Oct. 15. Norman has a 79.7 overall score from Pro Football Focus so far this season, down from his best work in 2015 (87.7) and 2016 (81). Still, Norman ranks as one of the league’s most talented corners and the Redskins badly want him in action for Week 6.
  • So far, the Giants‘ high-profile signing of Brandon Marshall is not working out, as ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan writes. Marshall, who has a history of drops, has allowed at least four balls to go through his hands in the first month of the season. It’s possible that the 33-year-old is simply over the hill. He could also still be plagued by the shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason. Through four games, the ex-Jet has just 16 catches off of 30 targets for 139 yards. Marshall has indicated that he wants to retire after the 2018 season when his two-year deal expires, but he might not see Year Two with the G-Men at this rate.
  • New Browns wide receiver Bryce Treggs says the Eagles offered to match the salary offered by Cleveland if he was willing to stay on the practice squad (Twitter link via Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram). However, he chose the Browns because he wanted to play. Treggs, a 6’0″ receiver out of Cal, first broke out in 2013 as a sophomore when he caught 77 passes for 751 yards and one score. In his final year on campus (2015), he had 45 grabs for 956 yards and a career-high seven TDs.

NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Elliott, Norman

The NFL says it expects a decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal “soon,” ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. Of course, we’ve been here before, but that verbiage may mean that we’ll have a resolution on the Cowboys running back before the end of business on Tuesday.

If the CA5 ruling does not come down today, the league will have to decide how to handle Elliott’s status for Week 5. Earlier this year, the league allowed the running back to play in the season opener when arbitrator Harold Henderson could not reach a decision by the previous Tuesday. If the judge is similarly delayed, it remains to be seen whether the NFL will allow Elliott to go against the Packers on Sunday.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

  • Redskins cornerback Josh Norman has a “significant” rib injury and will miss a “couple of weeks,” coach Jay Gruden told ESPN’s Lisa Salters (link via PFT). Norman left Monday night’s game holding his ribs with roughly two minutes to go in the first half. Testing on Tuesday will reveal the full extent of Norman’s injury. The team is concerned about internal injury, particularly with regard to his lungs (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com).
  • The Cowboys miss Doug Free‘s experience and Ronald Leary‘s run blocking, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News opines. Free retired this offseason while Leary left the team in free agency to sign with Denver.

NFC Notes: Panthers, Norman, Dez, Trubisky

Dave Gettleman‘s ouster as the Panthers general manager stands as this week’s most shocking NFL story, and Joe Person and Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer detail some of the reasons behind his firing. Gettleman’s “brusque management style” and his reshaping of Carolina’s roster after its 15-1, NFC-winning campaign in 2015 contributed to his demise, with his decision to rescind cornerback Josh Norman‘s franchise tag in 2016 helping to decide his fate. Letting Norman loose on the free agent market meant allowing a No. 1-caliber corner to walk away without the club receiving compensation, and it irked some of the team’s players.

A year later, the departure of ex-assistant general manager Brandon Beane also weakened Gettleman’s grip on the GM job. Beane took over as Buffalo’s GM in May, which cost Gettleman the good cop to his bad cop. The loss of Beane negatively affected Gettleman’s work relationships, according to Person and Fowler, as the former “acted as a go-between among the front office, coaching staff and locker room,” the reporters explain. Former Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert, who signed with the Bills after Gettleman released him in February, confirmed that Beane was a valuable figure in Carolina. “As players we all love Beane. We all love being around him,” said Tolbert. “He’s part of the reason we did what we did. I’m happy to have him in Buffalo now, I can tell you that much.”

More from the NFC:

  • Speaking of Norman, who’s now with the Redskins, he could end up as a cap casualty next offseason if he doesn’t make more of an impact this year, suggests Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic. With 14 infractions, Norman led the league in penalties last year, Tandler points out. However, it seems he has otherwise lived up to Washington’s five-year, $75MM investment thus far. Norman picked off three passes and forced two fumbles last season – a slight drop-off from four and three, respectively, in 2015 – started all 16 games, easily led Redskins defenders in snaps (1,057) and ranked 24th among Pro Football Focus’ 109 qualified corners. Nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning that designating the soon-to-be 30-year-old Norman a post-June 1 cut in 2018 would save the Redskins a healthy $14MM and leave them with a manageable $3MM in dead money next season.
  • A lack of punctuality has been a problem for Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant throughout his career, and his issues with reporting to team functions on time have already cropped up this year. Bryant made it to training camp three hours late on Friday, relays Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, though the player informed Jane Slater of NFL Network that he has been dealing with sinus infections and headaches. He’s now working with the Cowboys’ training staff to alleviate his sinus troubles, adds Rapoport. Further, Bryant apologized to Cowboys coaches and “took full responsibility” for his tardiness, writes Slater, but it’s still likely the team will fine him, reports Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram (Twitter links here).
  • Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky‘s rookie contract contains partial offsets, tweets Albert Breer of The MMQB. His deal is similar to the one Marcus Mariota signed with the Titans in 2015, when he, like Trubisky this year, entered the league as the second overall pick in his draft class. Mariota and the Titans agreed to make his base salaries (a total of $2.28MM) subject to offsets, but the vast majority of his $24.214MM pact is protected.
  • Cardinals running back Chris Johnson‘s one-year deal includes a $1MM base value, $200K in guarantees and a chance to earn more in incentives, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Fallout From And Reactions To Panthers Firing Dave Gettleman

It has never been more treacherous to be an NFL GM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Over the last five seasons, we have seen 15 GMs fired in December/January, one fired in February, and two canned during the season. Now, we can add four spring/summer firings to the list. Scot McCloughan (March 9), Doug Whaley (April 30), John Dorsey (June 22), and Dave Gettleman (July 17) were all fired at unusual times.

Where did things go wrong for the Panthers and Gettleman? And what’s next in Carolina? Here’s the latest:

  • Panthers owner Jerry Richardson remains high on coach Ron Rivera, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweets. There will be major changes for the Panthers this year, but that apparently won’t extend to the sideline.
  • There were rumblings that all was not well with Gettleman and Richardson after star cornerback Josh Norman was allowed to walk, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Prior to the 2016 season, the Panthers rescinded the franchise tag from Norman, leading the way for him to sign a gargantuan deal with the Redskins. The Panthers lost one of the game’s best cornerbacks for nothing and their secondary suffered as a direct result. Apparently, the move did not sit well with Richardson and he never completely got over that bold miscalculation from Gettleman.
  • Gettleman took over what was probably the second worst cap situation in the NFL, Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap (on Twitter) opines. Although the 2016 season was difficult, Fitzgerald isn’t sure that the Panthers could have asked for much more during Gettleman’s time in charge. In the 2015 season, the Panthers went 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl.
  • Earlier this summer, DeAngelo Williams said that he would not return to the Panthers if he was given a contract offer. Now that Gettleman is gone, he is singing a different tune. Norman and former Panthers great Steve Smith also seem pretty happy about Monday’s news.

NFC Rumors: Snead, 49ers, Norman, Giants

Les Snead‘s job status continues to generate disparate stances, but the latest points to the Rams GM being ousted. Snead is expected to follow Jeff Fisher out the door, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who notes the five years without a winning record — and Los Angeles boasting the league’s worst offense — will make it difficult to generate enthusiasm from a fanbase the franchise is attempting to grow now that it’s back in California.

Earlier this month, a report emerged that Snead was expected to survive, with another indicating the GM was not long for employment in L.A. With the Rams having lost to the 49ers and dropping to 4-11 — in line for their worst record since 2011, the final year of the pre-Snead/Fisher regime — it’s obvious the more fan-friendly move would be to start fresh.

Here’s more from around the league on Christmas Day.

  • Neither Trent Baalke nor Chip Kelly is expected to survive Black Monday, per Volin, with a new 49ers GM expected to be able to select his own coach. Kelly’s team won its first game since Week 1 in beating the Rams in L.A., but the formerly sought-after coach steered the team to its worst losing streak in the franchise’s 70-year history. Baalke could land in Denver due to his solid relationship with Broncos GM John Elway, but the sixth-year decision-maker has overseen a 49ers freefall over the past two years after that run of three consecutive conference championship games.
  • Josh Norman considered overtures from the Bears this offseason but told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune) postgame the sides weren’t on the same page. “At one point they were in the running,” Norman said. “They weren’t talking what I was talking about, though. I evaluate the team as well but if you’re not in the same [area when it comes to pay], you’re disqualified.” Washington beat out several teams to sign Norman, who intercepted two passes on Sunday, for five years and $75MM.
  • Dirk Koetter did not address Doug Martin‘s future with the Buccaneers after the team’s loss to the Saints on Saturday, noting that his decision to make the running back a healthy scratch came from believing previous injury replacement Jacquizz Rodgers was a better option, per Bradley Handwerger of the Associated Press. Rodgers was a healthy inactive last week. Martin’s $7MM salary next season is fully guaranteed as part of his five-year, $35.75MM deal, but no guaranteed money is part of this deal after 2017.
  • The Giants clinched their first playoff berth in five years Saturday, but a view around the league is they’ve received a reputation of seeing leniency from the commissioner’s office. This comes after they were penalized a maximum of 12 draft slots for their walkie-talkie infraction. “My understanding is that folks inside the Giants organization, they generally win the jump balls,” Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said during a radio appearance (via Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com). “They have that working in their favor. The John Mara connection. Look, it’s a league where the commissioner formally answers to the owners, so the most influential owners are going to have the greatest influence on the commissioner. Teams realize [they] don’t have any juice with the commissioner and other teams do. The Giants do. It’s not a surprise.” When comparing this penalty to the league docking the Chiefs a third-round pick for committing a common violation regarding premature free agency dialogue with Jeremy Maclin, Florio categorized the Giants as getting off easy.

NFC Notes: Eagles, Norman, Panthers, Falcons

The latest from the NFC:

  • The Eagles can’t let impending free agent defensive tackle Bennie Logan get away in the offseason, opines Paul Domowitch of Philly.com. Logan could land $10MM per year on his next contract, writes Domowitch, and an NFL executive told him the Eagles will have to make a sacrifice elsewhere on their roster to retain him. “It would be an unusual allocation of assets,” he said, alluding to the fact that the Eagles already have an expensive D-tackle in Fletcher Cox. “But you could sit down and make it work on paper if you really felt it was that important.” That could mean releasing stalwart left tackle Jason Peters, who’s eight years older than Logan (34 to 26). Cutting Peters would save Philadelphia $9.2MM in 2017, though it would subtract a highly valuable O-lineman from its roster at the same time. “It’s going to be more of a player personnel decision than a cap decision for them with Peters,” the executive said. “If they think somebody like (Halapoulivaati) Vaitai can be a solid right tackle, or they think they can get one without giving up too much, then maybe you flip (Lane) Johnson over to the left side and let Peters go.” Of course, the Eagles are already paying Johnson left tackle-type money on account of the extension he signed last January.
  • Speaking to Charlotte-based media earlier this week, Redskins cornerback Josh Norman revealed he was “salty” after the Panthers pulled the franchise tag off him last April and likened it to a stab in the back (via Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today). However, the 29-year-old added that feels “no animosity” toward the Panthers, with whom he spent the first four years of his career after they took him in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. While Carolina was the reigning NFC champion at the time it cut ties with Norman, it’s now 5-8 and all but out of the playoff picture. The Redskins are very much alive at 7-5-1, on the other hand, and have gotten plenty of help from Norman – Pro Football Focus’ 19th-ranked corner – in the first season of his five-year, $75MM deal. The Panthers will try to spoil the postseason hopes of Norman and the Redskins when the clubs meet in Washington on Monday.
  • The Falcons will go without all-world wide receiver Julio Jones this Sunday against the 49ers because of a sprained toe, per Marc Sessler of NFL.com. Atlanta didn’t have Jones last week, either, but it still managed to beat the lowly Rams by four touchdowns. San Francisco has lost 12 in a row since a Week 1 win, so the Jones-less Falcons look poised to improve to 9-5 and remain atop the NFC South.

East Notes: Jets, Gilmore, Giants, Redskins

Geno Smith is the Jets current starting quarterback, although the team would clearly prefer Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Second-round pick Christian Hackenberg is the future at the position. So, where does that leave Bryce Petty?

As Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writes, the team shouldn’t be giving up on the sophomore signal-caller. While the Jets have considered keeping four quarterbacks for 2016, Petty’s roster spot is no guarantee, and the writer doesn’t believe the organization should give up on the project so quickly.

For what it’s worth, Petty is ready for the challenge.

“You like competition,” Petty said. “So it’s one of those deals like, ‘Okay, they did draft a guy. Now it’s my chance to prove that they took the right guy the year before. … They made a good choice when they drafted me.”

Let’s check out some other notes from the NFL’s East divisions…

  • The Jets willingness to play hard ball with Fitzpatrick and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson leads to the perception that the team is “not as committed to winning as they ought to be,” writes Steve Serby of the New York Post. The writer believes the real fear is that this sentiment will leak into the locker room, which could make for a toxic environment.
  • The Bills don’t intend to pay Stephon GilmoreJosh Norman cornerback money,” writes Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. If the defensive back is seeking a contract that nears Norman’s five-year, $75MM, the team will presumably let Gilmore walk following the season. On the flip side, the Bills may be willing to pay the former first-rounder $12.5MM a year.
  • The Giants are a natural fit for former Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe, writes Jordan Raanan of NJ.com. The team has an obvious hole on the offensive line, and Monroe’s track record proves that the organization shouldn’t be wary of the veteran’s presence.
  • Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan has only held his position for 17 months, but the executive has already done an admirable job of turning around the organization. As Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports writes, the offseason acquisition of Josh Norman was McCloughan’s biggest move yet, and the GM is confident that the signing will ultimately prove to be worth it.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Short, Panthers

The Saints will ultimately have to choose between kickers Kai Forbath and Connor Barth. Unfortunately, as Evan Woodbury of NOLA.com notes, making that decision is easier said than done.

The duo have incredibly similar career numbers, and their performances during OTAs have also been rather even. Therefore, coach Sean Payton can’t solely rely on the raw numbers to make his final decision.

“These two guys are almost identical all the way back through their college years,” Payton said.

The two will have an opportunity to separate themselves during training camp, but so far, the organization is content with what they’ve seen from the pair.

“Both have experience and we feel like we’ve got a real good opportunity to come away from training camp with a good measuring stick,” Payton said. “We feel good about the way both of them are hitting it.”

Let’s check out some more notes from the NFC South…

  • As RosterResource.com shows, the Saints‘ running back depth chart is rather packed right now. Featuring Mark Ingram, C.J. Spiller, Tim Hightower, Travaris Cadet, Daniel Lasco and Marcus Murphy, coach Payton could have some disgruntled players if he ultimately keeps all six running backs. “I would be disappointed if somebody wasn’t a little ticked off,” Hightower told the Associated Press. “I’m a competitor. I don’t want to come off the football field.”
  • The Eagles recently signed defensive tackle Fletcher Cox to a six-year, $103MM deal, including $55.5MM in guaranteed money. As Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer writes, this could complicate negotiations with Panthers defensive lineman Kawann Short. The 27-year-old sat out the majority of OTAs in pursuit of a new contract, although he did attend the mandatory minicamp earlier this week. For what it’s worth, Cox and Short finished with similar numbers in 2014, and Short actually rated better in Pro Football Focus’ ranking of interior defenders (subscription required).
  • The Panthers certainly recognize the difficulties of finalizing a Short extension, as coach Ron Rivera indicated the other day. “I heard about that one,” he said. “(Someone) wrote that it’s going to complicate things. And it probably will. So we’ll see how things unfold.”
  • After having seen a breakdown in contract talks with former Panthers (and current Redskins) cornerback Josh Norman, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports sees similarities in the Short negotiations. While the writer doesn’t necessarily envision the team letting go of another starter, the presence of first-round pick Vernon Butler could make Short expendable.