Josh Norman

49ers CB Josh Norman Unlikely To Play On Sunday

Despite suffering a brutal chest injury last weekend, 49ers cornerback Josh Norman was still hoping that he’d be able to play this weekend. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan tempered expectations during yesterday’s press conference.

“Right now, I’ll see how it is when I talk to the doctors today, but I would pretty much think it’s pretty doubtful,” Shanahan said (h/t to 49erswebzone.com). “We’re hoping he can get out there. He’s trying to condition. Any time you get an injury like that when it’s in your lungs area and stuff like that, when you do heal up, you’ve got to get your stamina back. You’ve got to get your breath back. Any time you mess with the lungs, it’s a little bit scary for anybody, let alone an athlete, out there working hard and doing stuff like that. We’ll be able to condition him the most today that we’ve been able to in the last five days, and if he responds real well, then I think he’ll have a chance. So, hopefully, we have a good day today.”

The veteran had to go to the hospital last weekend after reportedly spitting up blood. He was later diagnosed with bruised lungs and tissue damage.

Norman caught on with the 49ers right before the start of the regular season. He’s started two games this year, collecting three tackles and one forced fumble. The 33-year-old got into nine games for the Bills in 2020. Before that, Norman was one of the best corners in the league. His best work came during his time with the Panthers. He dominated in 2015, playing a key role in their run to Super Bowl 50. He intercepted four passes that year, taking two back for touchdowns. It remains one of the best contract-year performances in modern NFL history.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Hicks, Higbee, 49ers

One of two Cardinals linebackers mentioned in trade rumors this offseason, Jordan Hicks will join Chandler Jones in being with the team when it begins its season Sunday. The Cardinals gave Hicks permission to seek a trade in May, after drafting Zaven Collins in Round 1 and anointing him the starter alongside Isaiah Simmons. But nothing materialized. GM Steve Keim said Hicks, despite his demotion, will play “a strong role” on this year’s Arizona defense, via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. Citing Simmons’ positional flexibility, Keim said there will be times when Simmons, Collins and Hicks line up together. The Cards have devoted considerable resources to their off-ball linebacker spots, drafting Simmons and Collins in the first round — after taking Haason Reddick in the 2017 first round and slotting him off the ball for most of his run — and signing Hicks to a four-year, $36MM deal in 2019. Hicks accepted a $3MM salary cut in March, and the 32-game Cardinal starter’s workload will certainly be reduced from the 100% and 92% defensive snap rates of the past two seasons.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Rams still reside near the bottom of the NFL in cap space, but they created some breathing room by restructuring Tyler Higbee‘s deal. The team added $1.65MM in space by moving some of Higbee’s base salary into a signing bonus, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com tweets. Prior to this move, the franchise held less than $1MM in cap room. Higbee signed a four-year, $31MM extension in 2019. This week’s move dropped his 2021 base salary to just more than $1MM.
  • Josh Norman is set to play a 10th NFL season and do so with a fourth team, having signed with the 49ers this week. However, Norman’s camp and the 49ers discussed a deal for months, the veteran cornerback said Friday (via KNBR). Norman, 33, has played with Carolina, Washington and Buffalo. He will join a 49ers team that was already thin at cornerback before listing Emmanuel Moseley as doubtful for Week 1. San Francisco has injury-prone Jason Verrett stationed as its other top outside corner. Norman, who has not returned to a Pro Bowl since his standout 2015 contract year, played 344 defensive snaps with the Bills last season.
  • The 49ers will begin their season without one of their assistant coaches. Linebackers coach Johnny Holland recently stepped away from the team due to a battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells, Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes. This is the second time Holland has left the 49ers because of his cancer battle; he did so in 2019 after initially being diagnosed. The fifth-year 49ers assistant began treatment this week. Holland, 56, has been an NFL assistant for more than 20 years, beginning in 1995 with the Packers, for whom he played linebacker in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Holland has worked with Kyle Shanahan dating back to their days as Texans assistants in the 2000s.

49ers Sign Josh Norman

The 49ers have agreed to sign cornerback Josh Norman, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter link). The former Pro Bowler can earn up to $2.5MM on the one-year pact, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. 

We haven’t heard much about Norman in recent months, but he’s secured a new deal with just days to go before the start of the season. The veteran signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Bills last year, making him one of several ex-Panthers to rejoin Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane in that cycle. However, a hamstring injury and a stint on the COVID-19 list cost him much of the year games. Norman finished 2019 with 24 stops and one interception in nine games.

Before that, Norman was once considered one of the best corners in the league. His best work came during his time with the Panthers. He dominated in 2015, playing a key role in their run to Super Bowl 50. He intercepted four passes that year, taking two back for touchdowns. It remains one of the best contract-year performances in modern NFL history. The Panthers rescinded Norman’s franchise tag in April 2016, leading to his five-year, $75MM Redskins pact. He did not match that play in Washington, a tenure that ended with the Redskins benching him.

Now, the 31-year-old will look to bounce back in SF where he’ll support starters Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/24/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Vance McDonald
  • Promoted: TE Kevin Rader

Tennessee Titans

The Jets’ addition of Adams makes a lot of sense after rookie running back La’Mical Perine suffered a high ankle sprain that is expected to sideline him for at least a couple games. A 2018 UDFA out of Notre Dame, Adams played a significant role with the Eagles as a rookie, when he started five of 14 games and carries the ball 120 times for 511 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the reasonably productive first season, he was waived at final cuts last year.

Josh Norman Tests Positive For COVID-19

Nov. 15: Luckily for Norman, he is asymptomatic, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). Norman understands that he cannot play today due to league protocols, but he says he feels well enough to do so. The team hopes to have him back shortly.

Nov. 14: The Bills have run into a COVID-19 issue ahead of their trip to Arizona. Josh Norman tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the team, and this will result in at least four Bills not traveling for their Week 10 game.

Norman, cornerback Levi Wallace, safety Dean Marlowe and tight end Tyler Kroft landed on Buffalo’s reserve/COVID-19 list. The latter three players — deemed as high-risk close contacts — must isolate for five days.

As of now, Sunday’s Bills-Cardinals game remains on as scheduled. The team is set to travel to Arizona later this afternoon. Defensive assistant Leonard Johnson will join the aforementioned quartet of players in not making the trip to the desert.

This is not the first time Saturday news of a Bills positive test emerged to weaken one of their position groups. Dawson Knox tested positive for COVID-19 late last month, and the Bills placed two other tight ends on their COVID list that day. The NFL did not adjust the game time of the Bills’ rematch with the Jets. The league has not changed a game time because of COVID-19 since Week 7. With virus numbers skyrocketing around the country, similar challenges to the one that prompted the NFL to move a Bills-Titans game to a Tuesday night appear on the horizon.

Norman signed a one-year, $6MM deal with the Bills — one of several ex-Panthers to rejoin Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane in Buffalo this offseason — but began the season on IR. He returned for three games but has missed the past three due to a hamstring injury. He had practiced all week and was expected to return against Arizona, however. The Bills also recalled Wallace from IR earlier this season.

They will face the Cardinals’ No. 1-ranked offense with a depleted secondary. The team will promote some reinforcements, however. The Bills elevated Daryl Worley, Darron Lee, cornerback Dane Jackson, wide receiver Jake Kumerow and safety Josh Thomas from their practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Activate Josh Norman From IR

SATURDAY: Norman is in line to make his Bills debut Sunday in Las Vegas. The Bills will activate their free agent corner acquisition ahead of their Week 4 game against the Raiders.

WEDNESDAY: The Bills have designated cornerback Josh Norman for return, according to the league’s transaction wire. Buffalo now has a three-week window to activate the veteran DB.

Once considered one of the best corners in the league, Norman was all over the PFR pages back in 2016, when he and the Panthers were going through a messy divorce. On the heels of a platform campaign that saw him bring home First Team All-Pro honors, Norman was hit with the franchise tag, but Carolina rescinded the tag shortly thereafter. When that happened, Norman signed a five-year, $75MM contract with Washington, which made him the highest-paid CB in NFL history at the time.

But he was not quite the same player with Washington that he was with the Panthers, and in 2019, he graded out as the third-worst qualified cornerback in the league per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. However, he managed to finagle a one-year, $6MM pact out of the Bills this offseason, and both Buffalo and Norman were hoping that a reunion with Bills HC Sean McDermott — who was Carolina’s defensive coordinator throughout Norman’s entire tenure with the club — would help Norman look more like his old self.

Norman, however, landed on IR earlier this month with a hamstring injury. He appears to be on the mend and is nearing his debut with the current leaders of the AFC East.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Place Josh Norman On IR

Josh Norman‘s Bills tenure will not include game action for a while. The team placed the veteran cornerback on IR Saturday.

Norman was already set to miss Week 1 with a hamstring injury. He will now be forced to miss at least two more games. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the NFL to further alter its IR rule. Teams can activate an unlimited number of players from IR after three weeks, rather than the usual eight.

Buffalo signed Norman to a one-year, $6MM deal in March. Norman did not fare especially well for most of his four-year Washington tenure, but a Bills stay means a return to work with his former defensive coordinator in Sean McDermott. Those plans are now on hold.

The Bills also promoted cornerback Cam Lewis and defensive tackle Justin Zimmer from their practice squad Saturday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Jets, Bell, Butler, Norman

The Jets are widely expected to be active in free agency, and now that a new CBA has been approved, they can increase their ability to spend by designating Trumaine Johnson as a post-June 1 cut. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com takes a look at the players that Gang Green is expected to target, and unsurprisingly, some of this year’s most prolific O-lineman, edge rushers, and cornerbacks are on the list.

But what are the Jets’ fallback plans if they can’t land their top targets? Connor Hughes of The Athletic has heard that the team could pursue Eagles OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and if the Jets miss out on guards like Graham Glasgow and Joe Thuney, Hughes says they have looked into Panthers guard Greg Van Roten.

Now for more from the AFC East:

  • The Jets would like to retain WR Robby Anderson, but if his price tag gets too high, both Hughes and Cimini believe Breshad Perriman would be a target. Perriman offers field-stretching ability and had a strong finish to the 2019 season with the Bucs.
  • Jets RB Le’Veon Bell receives a $2MM roster bonus today. As Cimini points out, that bonus makes it a little less likely that Bell is traded, though that never seemed like a realistic proposition to begin with.
  • Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes the Patriots are prepared to move on from WR Phillip Dorsett, though it’s a different story for Adam Butler. The fourth-year DT recently switched agents, and Reiss says extension talks could be on tap. Butler, a former UDFA, recorded six sacks last season.
  • The details are in on Josh Norman‘s new contract with the Bills, courtesy of Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (via Twitter), The deal was originally reported as a one-year, $6MM pact that could increase to $8MM with incentives, but Norman has a number of workout and roster milestones to hit before he collects the full $6MM. His salary is just $2.8MM, $1.5MM of which is guaranteed.

Bills To Sign Josh Norman

Josh Norman will attempt to bounce back with some familiar personnel. The former Panthers and Redskins cornerback agreed to terms with the Bills on a one-year deal, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter).

The contract is worth $6MM but could climb to $8MM based on incentives, Garafolo notes. This will reunite Norman with former Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and ex-Carolina assistant GM Brandon Beane. The top two members of Buffalo’s power structure were with Carolina throughout Norman’s Panthers tenure. Beane revealed the Bills were interested last month.

Several teams expressed some degree of interest, which helps explain the $6MM Bills proposal, but Garafolo adds (via Twitter) Norman opted for Buffalo because of his familiarity with McDermott’s system and the presence of top-tier cornerback Tre’Davious White.

Washington released Norman earlier this year, cutting ties with what was the league’s top cornerback contract for years. The 32-year-old defender will return to the system that turned him from 2012 fifth-round pick to a first-team All-Pro.

As of now, Norman will become Buffalo’s highest-paid cornerback. While the team wants to extend White, the Bills’ CB1 remains attached to his rookie deal. The Bills have fellow rookie-contract cogs Levi Wallace and Taron Johnson in place as well, but Kevin Johnson looms as a free agent. Pro Football Focus graded Kevin Johnson as its No. 24 overall cornerback last season.

Norman dominated during the Panthers’ 2015 season, playing a key role in their run to Super Bowl 50. He intercepted four passes, taking two back for touchdowns. It remains one of the best contract-year performances in modern NFL history. The Panthers rescinded Norman’s franchise tag in April 2016, leading to his five-year, $75MM Redskins pact. He did not match that play in Washington, a tenure that ended with the Redskins benching him last season.

Norman’s $15MM-per-year deal did not produce a Pro Bowl with the Redskins, but he will land on his feet with a chance to become a supporting-caster on a talented Bills roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Interested In Josh Norman

The Bills have checked in with free agent cornerback Josh Norman, GM Brandon Beane says (via the team website). So far, the talks have been informal, though there’s an obvious connection between the longtime Panthers star and the Bills’ regime. 

We have looked into him and even talked to him,” said Beane. “Nothing more than that. I’m sure he may have some other teams that he’s looking at beyond Buffalo. Probably a similar situation to Greg Olsen, he’s in a spot where he’ll be able to choose where he wants to go. I don’t know what his plan will be of whether we’ll come to any type of agreement.”

Beane and head coach Sean McDermott – formerly with the Panthers – were in the running for Olsen before he signed with the Seahawks. Their familiarity could lead to something with Norman and the cornerback position is on their to-do list.

The Bills are set to return Tre’Davious White, Taron Johnson, and Levi Wallace (ERFA) at cornerback while Kevin Johnson is out-of-contract. They’ll have to weigh Norman and other big-name CBs against larger needs, however. The Bills could use a top-end receiver, a reliable tight end (since the Olsen deal didn’t come together), and upgrades on the offensive line.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.