Redskins sign linebacker/special teams ace Jared Norris to roster

On Thursday, the Washington Redskins made a move to address their special teams and linebacker depth by signing Jared Norris to their roster.

The Washington Redskins are going to be making some major changes to their roster this offseason. Under Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio, the team will shift to a 4-3 defensive scheme which will necessitate adding some more depth and talent at linebacker for their defense.

And the team started that process on Thursday when they agreed to a deal with veteran linebacker Jared Norris.

Norris was formerly a member of the Panthers from 2016 to 2018 after going undrafted out of Utah. Over the course of his career, he played 28 games for the Panthers and recorded 11 tackles while serving as a special teams ace for the squad.

In both 2017 and 2018, Norris ended up on Injured Reserve for the Panthers. And despite signing a two-year extension with the squad in March of 2019, he didn’t make the Panthers roster. He was waived as part of the team’s final cuts in late August. He simply wasn’t able to beat out some of the younger linebackers on Carolina’s squad for a spot.

Still, Norris does provide some value on special teams. With the Redskins lacking linebacker depth, signing him to compete for a spot on the roster makes sense. And it’s worth noting that some of the best teams in the league tend to have great special teams units and specialists on the roster that primarily play on those units. So, maybe Norris can be that if he can stay healthy.

But if Norris doesn’t pan out, it’s a low-risk signing that occurred before free agency, as Norris wasn’t in the NFL last season and was eligible to sign with Washington. He likely signed for the veteran minimum, so nobody’s going to complain about that. And his presence certainly won’t impact the team’s ability to pursue other free agents to fill needs.

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Norris is one of the first signings of the Redskins offseason, but he won’t be the last. And definitely expect Rivera and Co. to target some other former Panthers when free agency begins in earnest in mid-March.

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