Josh Norman might or might not be available from the Washington Redskins, and the Kansas City Chiefs should be interested—if the right sort of situation presents itself.
The Josh Norman rumors have been circulating. It happens to any player who hasn’t lived up to the expectations of a front office and/or fan base. Whether or not there’s any real teeth to the idea that the Washington Redskins could release the cornerback is anyone’s guess; the brass in Washington (at least on the football side) isn’t exactly conventional.
The logistics are pretty simple for Norman: he’s the highest paid cornerback in the NFL and he’s held that title for a few years. He’s also never lived up to that billing since he first arrived in Washington. In 2016, Washington handed Norman a deal worth $75 million over 5 years—a tall order for a cornerback who’d made a single Pro Bowl in what was his contract season. Ever since, he’s never been named to the NFL’s version of an all-star team, and it’s not as if the Skins’ secondary has been a feared unit around the league.
Norman has averaged 15 starts over three seasons in Washington, so he’s been a reliable presence on the defense. Beyond that, however, Norman hasn’t even closely resembled anything close to “shutdown.” Pro Football Focus graded him as a top 50 corner last year, yet he also allowed a career-high 8 touchdowns in 2018. He has six interceptions in his three-year tenure in the nation’s capital.
Right now, the argument on both sides puts the Redskins in an awkward position. They’ve reached the point in Norman’s contract where it makes sense to move on given how the performance on the field fails to reflect such lofty numbers. That said, Washington has also done a poor job of building the secondary around him to allow for him to exit. To lose Norman, even as an average to above-average option, is to decimate an unpredictable or inexperienced position.
The proverbial rock and a hard place means that Norman could stick, at least until it’s clear that the Redskins won’t be competing in 2019. Yet no team is ever going to trade for that anchor of a contract. The Chiefs have the cap space, so it’s a possibility, but it’s hard to see Norman as the step forward in the secondary—at least at such a high price tag. If the Chiefs are waiting on the Redskins to potentially release Norman, they certainly have the cap space to get into a bidding war, but will that possibility even present itself.
The one light in which a deal makes sense for the Chiefs is if Veach wanted to create a landing pad for a bad contract. The Chiefs have been linked to other cornerbacks—from Patrick Peterson to Xavier Rhodes—and most of those deals would likely come with significant financial commitments and draft assets moving out the door. For a deal involving Norman, maybe Veach wanted a chance to bring in a corner without losing a major pick.
But is Brett Veach really willing to be the one to pay the NFL’s top cornerback when the returns are so middling? It doesn’t help that Norman is into his thirties. An expensive aging veteran would hardly be an inspiring get. Then again, maybe the Chiefs are looking for security and depth at one more position and don’t want to give up anything substantive to do so. Norman is better than anything on the open market, so in that weird light, it’s the only way that a deal for Norman makes sense.