Josh Norman

Redskins Shopping Josh Norman

While the Redskins finally seem ready to discuss Trent Williams, they are also eager to see if a taker for Josh Norman‘s contract emerges. Washington has called teams about the veteran cornerback, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Obstacles stand in the way of a possible deal, however. Norman is due nearly $6MM over the rest of 2019 and has battled hand and thigh injuries, missing Week 7. Norman played last week against the Vikings, however. The former Panthers All-Pro also has not lived up to the $15MM-AAV contract he signed in 2016.

Pro Football Focus grades Norman as its No. 98 overall corner (out of 112 full-timers), further sliding him down the cornerback hierarchy. Norman will turn 32 in December and is signed through the 2020 season. It would cost Washington just $3MM in dead money to release Norman in the offseason, and the move would save the franchise $12.3MM.

This marks the latest Norman trade rumor; a report last week indicated the eighth-year defender was being floated around. With the Redskins sitting at 1-7 through the first half, it makes sense for the team to consider dealing veterans not part of the long-term picture.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins’ Peterson, Norman To Play

Redskins running back Adrian Peterson will have a chance to exact revenge on his old friends in Minnesota, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Peterson was dealing with some ankle issues, but he will be active for the team’s Thursday night matchup against the Vikings. 

Peterson was listed as questionable, but earlier today, he vowed to “bite down” and play through it. That’s not great news for the Vikings, especially since Peterson will be coming in with extra motivation. He might not be the AD of old, but he’s still an effective rusher coming off of two quality games. He ran for 118 yards against the struggling Dolphins and followed up that effort with a solid 4+ yards per carry against the Niners.

On the other side of the ball, cornerback Josh Norman will play, despite dealing with some thigh and hand pain. That’s notable for obvious reasons, but also because Norman’s name has been bandied about in trade speculation. The Redskins continue to reject calls about Trent Williams, but they’re reportedly open to moving Norman and his sizable contract.

Norman joined the Redskins on a $15MM/year deal back in 2016, but, so far, he has not matched the production of his Carolina years. Norman graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 50 corner last season. This year, his 50.0 overall score has him at No. 98 among CBs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Notes: Falcons, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Jets, Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Bills, Packers

Teams continue to ask about Austin Hooper, whose 526 receiving yards sit 11th in the NFL entering Week 8. However, the Falcons have spurned suitors who’ve called about the emerging tight end, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Hooper is in a contract year, but the Falcons believe they have a chance to re-sign him. The Falcons, though, are the team doing the contacting regarding Vic Beasley. Atlanta is shopping its former All-Pro defensive end, who is playing out a $12.8MM fifth-year option. Pass rushers are obviously valuable, but with Beasley’s play having fallen off since that 2016 breakthrough, the return might not be what the Falcons seek.

Here is the latest from the trade market:

  • The Redskins continue to respond with hard nos when asked about Trent Williams, but Breer adds Josh Norman‘s name has been floated around. With Norman having not lived up to the $15MM-AAV contract he signed in 2016, it would be hard to imagine the Redskins getting much value for the eighth-year cornerback.
  • A cornerback performing better continues to look likelier to stay put. Chris Harris does not expect to be traded, and Troy Renck of Denver7 notes the Broncos are not as motivated to deal their four-time Pro Bowler as they were to ship out Emmanuel Sanders. A second-round pick would likely be necessary here, per Breer. Considering the Broncos’ issues finding corners as of late, dealing Harris would create a massive offseason need in Denver.
  • The Bengals are 0-7, and A.J. Green continues to come up in trade rumors. But the old-school organization isn’t budging. Mike Brown has not signed off on a firesale, Breer adds, instead preferring to provide first-year HC Zac Taylor with a foundation. That project is not going well so far, with the veteran-laden team performing poorly. Cincinnati’s potential trade chips also include franchise sack leaders Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Neither appears to be a departure candidate. Tyler Eifert is a name Breer mentions could be dealt, but the tight end obviously has a significant injury history that would limit a return.
  • As for the expensive New York corners, Janoris Jenkins has generated more interest than Trumaine Johnson. The Giants have shopped Jenkins around some, per Breer, while Ralph Vacchiano of SNY notes it would require “a miracle” for a team to take Johnson’s salary off the Jets‘ payroll. Jenkins is signed through 2020, with $5.37MM remaining in 2019 salary.
  • In addition to the Saints exploring receiver additions, the Bills, Eagles and Packers are as well, Breer notes. This could heat up the Robby Anderson market, but Breer adds Browns wideout Rashard Higgins has been discussed in advance of Tuesday’s deadline. The backup is in a contract year. However, Higgins has battled knee issues and has only played in one 2019 game.
  • With Mark Andrews having outproduced Hayden Hurst, the Ravens have received calls on their 2018 top pick. As of now, however, Hurst is not believed to be available, per Breer.

NFC East Notes: Elliott, Eagles, Redskins

The Cowboys‘ strategy of prioritizing extension for Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper over Ezekiel Elliott have seemingly influenced the two-time rushing champion to consider a holdout. While Elliott is signed through the 2020 season and can be controlled on a 2021 franchise tag, a path the Cowboys appear to be pondering, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets the team’s best move would be to extend Elliott now in order to have the remaining $12.9MM on his contract become part of the extension’s guarantee structure. The Cowboys should structure a deal that would enable them to cut bait after the first year of the extension, which if done now would be 2021, Fitzgerald adds (on Twitter). That would be unlikely to happen if Elliott heads into 2020 without an extension. Having not yet met the service-time requirements for free agency, Elliott must report to the Cowboys by Aug. 6. This gives the team considerable leverage against a 2019 holdout. A 2020 holdout would become more complicated.

With the NFC East teams wrapping up their offseasons, here is the latest out of this division:

  • Several Redskins players missed out on some cash this offseason. By either not showing up, in Trent Williams‘ case, to the offseason program (or failing to be there for 90% of it), Williams, Josh Norman, Landon Collins, Paul Richardson, Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Davis missed out on some bonus cash, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Norman led the way on this front, seeing $200K docked from his 2019 salary. Collins was docked $175K, with Williams and Richardson down $150K.
  • Staying with Washington, their free safety job still figures to be Montae Nicholson‘s to lose, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington notes. This comes despite the Redskins suspending him in December, for an off-field arrest that resulted in dropped charges, and Jay Gruden expressing annoyance Nicholson missed the early portion of Redskins OTAs. Washington did not draft a safety, and Pro Football Focus graded Nicholson as its fifth-worst back-line defender last season. Still, Finlay expects the third-year player to have a major say in who starts alongside Collins.
  • Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders and Corey Clement will be on the Eagles‘ 53-man roster, leaving recent draft picks Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams and Donnel Pumphrey in danger of the waiver wire. Despite the Eagles investing in each of these players out of college, Saints 2018 sixth-round pick Boston Scott looks like the early favorite to be the Eagles’ fourth running back, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes. Possessing a Darren Sproles-type physique at 5-foot-6 and 203 pounds, Scott has yet to take a regular-season handoff. But his experience as a punt returner may give him the edge, per Zangaro. Adams (511 yards) and Smallwood (364) were Philadelphia’s two leading rushers last season.
  • The Giants will join the Eagles in having a project offensive lineman in camp. After Philly drafted tackle Jordan Mailata in last year’s seventh round, the Giants signed college shot putter Austin Droogsma. The Giants signed Droogsma, who last played football as a high-schooler 2012, in May and will try the 6-4, 345-pound track convert as a guard, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes. While at Florida State, Droogsma won the 2018 ACC indoor and outdoor titles and finished both seasons as an All-American. Mailata, a rugby standout, spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad; the Giants’ P-squad would seem like the best-case scenario for Droogsma in 2019.

East Rumors: Norman, Jets, Dolphins

As teams continue studying their respective rosters during OTA sessions, here is where some of the franchises in the East divisions stand:

  • While Josh Norman has not lived up to the contract that pays him $15MM per year, the Redskins do not appear to be planning anything radical regarding his employment. The team has not engaged in discussions on a possible post-June 1 Norman release, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington writes. Washington would save $11MM by cutting the 31-year-old cornerback, who graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 50 corner last season, but old-school post-June 1 releases do not occur often anymore. The Redskins’ corner corps would obviously take a hit without Norman. Two seasons remain on Norman’s deal.
  • The Jets wrapped up their interview with Saints exec Terry Fontenot. They will begin their Joe Douglas meetings tonight and continue them on Sunday, per ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). Douglas remains Adam Gase‘s preferred hire, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News tweets, adding there does not seem to be a big chance CEO Christopher Johnson goes in a different direction.
  • Mark Walton is facing three pending legal cases but remains in contention for a Dolphins backup job. Two of the running back’s hearings will occur this week. In one of those, a Wednesday matter that overlaps with Dolphins minicamp, his attorney will be making a court appearance for him to allow the embattled ex-Bengal to practice with his new team, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald notes. Walton is trying to secure Miami’s No. 3 running back job, behind Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage. Miami drafted Washington alum Myles Gaskin in Round 7 and picked up former Chargers back Kenneth Farrow earlier this year.
  • In addition to the ACL tear Reuben Foster suffered, the former first-round pick also must rehab LCL damage.
  • Ezekiel Elliott‘s run-in with a security officer at a Las Vegas concert could produce another suspension for the Cowboys’ two-time rushing champion.

NFC Rumors: P. Peterson, Winston, Peters

We heard last week that the Cardinals were at least willing to listen to trade offers for Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick, and while GM Steve Keim later threw cold water on those rumors, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Arizona is not only looking to deal Bucannon and Reddick, but that the team is also open to parting with star cornerback Patrick Peterson. Mike Jurecki of the team’s official website tweets that there is zero chance that the Cardinals move Peterson, but even if that’s the case, it seems apparent that the rebuilding Cards will be busy as we approach the October 30 trade deadline.

Now let’s take a look at a few more items out of the NFC:

  • Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network (video link) reports that Jameis Winston‘s job with the Buccaneers is pretty secure for the time being, but the rest of the season will be critical in determining Winston’s long-term future with the club. He is under club control through 2019 under the fifth-year option, but that option would cost the Bucs $20.9MM and is guaranteed for injury only, so if Winston performs poorly but remains healthy, Tampa Bay could conceivably cut ties after the 2018 season.
  • La Canfora reports that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to hire Falcons team president Rich McKay in recent years to oversee the league’s football operations, a department that has come under fire for its handling of Bountygate, Deflategate, and other scandals. However, the compensation committee, which has been trying to cut spending, would not authorize the creation of an expensive executive position like that, and there is nothing to indicate that anything will change in that regard, even if McKay were open to such a post (which he apparently was).
  • Eagles LT Jason Peters suffered a torn biceps against the Giants on Thursday night, but Rapoport tweets that Peters is expected to return and play this season and could miss just a game or two. While Peters has not been performing to his usual standards in 2018, this is still obviously great news for Philadelphia.
  • Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and cornerback Josh Norman have discussed the halftime incident that garnered some media attention earlier this week and have put the matter behind them, per Rapoport (video link). Rapoport says that Gruden stepped to the front of the locker room to address the team at halftime of Monday’s loss to the Saints, and Norman had his headphones on — as he always does at halftime — and had his back to Gruden, so did not know that the head coach had begun talking. Gruden took exception to what he perceived as a lack of attention and yanked the headphones of off Norman’s head, which obviously made Norman upset. Norman walked away from Gruden and was therefore benched to start the second half, but it does not sound as if this issue will be a lingering problem for the two men moving forward.
  • The Packers, at 2-2-1, are clearly not performing as well as they would like, and Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com has a couple of suggestions as to how Green Bay might shake things up. Dougherty believes the team should consider making a change at safety, either by giving Jermaine Whitehead a shot at starting or moving Bashaud Breeland into the rotation (when healthy), and he also believes Robert Tonyan should get more snaps at tight end.

NFC Notes: Manning, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Redskins

Plenty of people criticized the Giants’ decision to take Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick. While Barkley has been electric, many people thought the opportunity to take one of this year’s class of quarterback prospects was too good to pass up. Eli Manning has struggled mightily this year, and the Giants now have no clear succession plan. Despite not drafting a quarterback early this year, New York “believed that somehow, some way, they’d find their heir apparent somewhere down the line”, according to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.

Now that they might have to find that heir apparent earlier than expected, Vacchiano went through all the Giants’ options to find a quarterback of the future, including a trade before the deadline this year, free agency, and the draft. They have fourth round rookie Kyle Lauletta on the roster, and Vacchiano writes they must “absolutely take a look at him in a game this year.” One way or another, it looks like Manning’s days as the Giants’ starter are numbered.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • There’s been growing frustration with Jason Garrett as coach of the Cowboys, especially after his decision to punt the ball away on 4th & 1 in overtime last week. While owner Jerry Jones and his son Stephen have insisted, Garret’s job isn’t in danger, “there’s been buzz in league circles indicating that the Joneses may eventually set their sights on Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley”, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.
  • Aaron Rodgers recently suffered a setback with his injured knee, but is looking to avoid going back to the bulky brace he had to wear initially, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Rodgers re-injured the knee on a hit he took early in the Packers’ loss to the Lions last week. The game against Detroit was his first game without the large brace that made it harder for him to move around.
  • Josh Norman was benched to start the second half of the Redskins’ loss to the Saints on Monday night, and it apparently wasn’t about his play. “It was definitely something between Gruden and Norman that got a little heated and definitely not because of him getting beat in coverage”, according to John Keim of ESPN (Twitter link). Apparently Norman and coach Jay Gruden got into an altercation at halftime, and this will be an interesting situation to monitor going forward.

NFC East Notes: Owens, Redskins, Giants

Former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens says he isn’t “actively seeking to get into the NFL” but would entertain the possibility, “as well as the CFL,” if an opportunity arises (via ESPN.com).

I know that I do have the ability to play. I know everybody sees the shape that I’m in. There’s a lot of athletes that play their prospective sports, but there are few guys that defy the odds. I think I’m one of those guys,” Owens said Wednesday.

Owens’ CFL rights are owned by the Edmonton Eskimos and he recently triggered a clause that gives them until Tuesday to work out a deal. The 44-year-old, who is on the verge of being inducted into the Hall of Fame while he celebrates elsewhere, will become a CFL free agent if he does not receive an offer to his liking.

It’s fair to wonder whether Owens can compete in the CFL at his age, and the NFL appears to be a longshot since he is seven years removed from playing and has not drawn any recent interest. Still, when T.O. talks comeback, we can’t help but listen.

Here’s a look at the NFC East:

  • By failing to participate in 90% of the team’s OTAs, Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams‘ 2018 base salary has now officially de-escalated from $10MM to $9.85MM, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Cornerback Josh Norman is in a similar boat. His salary has dipped from $13.5MM to $13.3MM.
  • Giants third-round supplemental draft cornerback Sam Beal‘s deal is worth $4,082MM over four years and includes a $1.048MM signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.
  • Meanwhile, Redskins cornerback Adonis Alexander, taken in the sixth-round of the supplemental draft, is set to earn $2.616MM over the course of his four-year deal.

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.