Josh Norman

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.

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).