Another polarizing free agent acquisition has concluded his stay in Redskins Park. Per reports, the Redskins will release veteran cornerback Josh Norman ahead of the 2020 season.
Hopes were high when the Washington Redskins signed Josh Norman to a five-year, $75 million deal during the 2016 offseason. Then 28 years old, Norman was coming off an All-Pro campaign with the Carolina Panthers, in which he logged four interceptions, 18 pass deflections, and two defensive touchdowns, cementing himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the game for that short span.
Norman would never reach those heights again in his career, however. Despite earning a pay day that made him the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history at the time, Norman was never a consistent game-changer for the Redskins defense. In 2019, his play quality took a stark dive, and the future of the 32-year old was rightfully placed into question.
Now, we have an answer as to whether Norman will be with the team or not in 2020. Per NFL insider Mike Garafolo, the Redskins plan to release Norman ahead of the 2020 offseason. The release comes at the hands of Ron Rivera, the coach for whom Norman was a player from 2012 to 2015.
#Redskins are releasing CB Josh Norman, source says. Intriguing situation to watch, as he now has time to find his new team ahead of free agency.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) February 14, 2020
Norman’s release ends a four-year stint in D.C. for the Coastal Carolina product, in which he amassed 53 starts, seven interceptions, 43 pass deflections, eight forced fumbles, and a sack. At his highest moments, Norman was a playmaker for the Redskins, with a propensity for generating turnovers, both via interception and with his trademark peanut punch, to generate fumbles through tackles. But Norman could never attain consistency in the nation’s capital. He came to D.C. to earn a ring, and now, his quest has officially turned up empty.
For the Redskins, releasing Norman was the sensible thing to do, both in terms of roster construction and financial flexibility. The move saves the Redskins $12.5 million, with just $3 million against the dead cap allowance, and it comes on the heels of Ron Rivera’s return to work. The Redskins coaches reportedly began re-evaluating Washington’s roster earlier this month, and with deliberations underway, more roster moves like this could come in the future.
There was speculation that perhaps Rivera would keep Norman in some capacity, due to their familiarity in Carolina. But Norman’s value, both as a player and a mentor, was minimal compared to his contract figure. He now faces an uncertain future, with both his stock and his on-field viability lower than ever.