The Jacksonville Jaguars have spent a ton of money this offseason, but still have enough money to pursue newly-minted free agent cornerback Josh Norman after he had his franchise tag rescinded by the Carolina Panthers. In fact, the Jaguars are one of the few teams that have enough cap room to meet Norman’s demands and will be one of the teams to show interest in arguably the best cornerback in the NFL right now.
Last season, Norman held opposing quarterbacks to a 54.0 rating, tops in the NFL. He recorded 56 combined tackles, had four interceptions, 19 passes defensed, forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and scored two touchdowns. He emerged as a true shutdown cornerback, a rare thing in the NFL these days. He would be an upgrade for any defense in the league.
The Jaguars are clearly trying to make a run to the playoffs this year after bringing in Malik Jackson, Chris Ivory, Prince Amukamara and Tashaun Gipson. They are also getting last year’s first-round pick, Dante Fowler, Jr., back and hold the fifth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. They are in position to make a playoff run and adding Norman could be exactly what the team needs and potentially turn a weak Jaguars defense from last year into one of the better ones in the league.
Right now, the Jaguars’ corners are Davon House and Amukamara. They are solid but nowhere near Norman. Adding Norman would make the Jaguars’ secondary deep and dangerous, especially if Amukamara stays healthy. Last season, the Jaguars finished 29th in the NFL in passing yards allowed with 4291. They also allowed 29 touchdowns which was towards the bottom of the league. Only three teams had fewer interceptions than the Jaguars last year.
Last season, Norman held DeAndre Hopkins to two catches on seven targets for 24 yards. He held T.Y. Hilton to one catch for 15 yards on three targets. He shut down the best receivers in the division, something the Jaguars have had trouble with recently.
They have the money and they are ready to compete. They desperately need help in the secondary. Expect the Jaguars to make a run at Norman and don’t be surprised if they are willing to overpay in order to make that happen. It could change the landscape of the AFC South.