The Washington Redskins made a big splash on Friday night that will certainly help them towards becoming a contender in the NFC. The team officially agreed to a deal with former Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, who had become a free agent earlier in the week when the team rescinded the franchise tag offer from him. The deal will be a five-year pact that will pay Norman $75 million, with $50 million in guarantees. While this deal will help the Redskins on defense, it definitely will carry a lot of risk with it.
The contract that Norman signed officially made him the highest paid cornerback in the league, exceeding the value of Darrelle Revis‘ contract which was signed last offseason. Norman will be making $1 million more per year than Revis, and $5 million more over his entire contract. Now, it is not necessarily fair to compare Revis and Norman, as Norman is two-and-a-half years younger than Revis and has less wear and tear, but Norman is likely worth more than Revis at this point in his career.
Still, paying that much money to a non-quarterback is going to be a huge risk for the Redskins. Norman is now ranked 23rd in total contract value across the NFL and is tied for 30th in average yearly salary. The team still has to keep in mind that they may need to pay Kirk Cousins at some point in the near future, and giving a lot of their salary cap space to two players could negatively impact the team’s depth.
Also, the $50 million in guarantees will be crippling to the Redskins if Norman cannot keep his form. Norman was a solid corner in 2014 who played at an elite level this past season, defending 18 passes and picking off four, and the team needs to hope that he can keep that up in a new scheme. They will not be able to get rid of him easily if he does not perform up to snuff, so that aspect of the deal could be problematic for the team.
However, the addition of Norman should be huge for the defense. The Redskins have been plagued by secondary issues for years now, and it looks like they are finally going to have a solid unit. The team will start Norman along with Bashaud Breeland, and Chris Culliver may enter the lineup once he returns from injury. It also means that DeAngelo Hall will definitely play at safety which will likely upgrade that position as well. If the Redskins can fix the issues they have at middle linebacker, then their defensive unit could end up being one of the better ones in the NFL.
Although there is a lot of risk for the Redskins in signing Norman, I like the move. The team is going all-in to try and become a contender, and with a good draft they could end up being one of the better teams in the league. Paying Norman so much is a major sacrifice, but if he comes in with the right attitude, he is going to bring the Redskins’ defense to the next level.