Josh Norman could work for Chiefs on a prove-it deal in free agency
By Matt Conner
The idea of bringing in cornerback Josh Norman could be a nice addition for the Kansas City Chiefs on a cheap one-year prove-it deal.
When a familiar face is released by an NFL team, it’s natural for any other franchise’s fan base to ask the question about the new free agent’s ability to make a difference with their favorite team. For the Kansas City Chiefs, the list of fan base’s asking those sorts of questions about Bashaud Breeland, Chris Jones and several other potential free agents has provided plenty of talking points, and Chiefs Kingdom is no different when surveying the transaction of other teams.
One recent name to come across the transaction wire was cornerback Josh Norman, who was recently released by the Washington Redskins.
Norman was a big-money signing by Dan Snyder back in 2016, but the veteran corner became too expensive for too little production by the end of his five-year contract (worth up to $75 million at the time of signing).
What does that mean for Norman’s chances to play in 2020? Will he find a new home? Will he have to take a cheap one-year offer? Does he have enough in the tank to really contribute? There are a lot of assumptions about Norman out there, so we decided to ask Jacob Camenker from Riggo’s Rag, a blog covering the Washington Redskins, to tell us more about Norman and what he could bring to a team like the Chiefs.
The idea of Josh Norman isn’t very exciting to anyone these days knowing he was so openly shopped. Is he “finished” or is he more productive than most are giving him credit for?
Norman looked finished last season and he had trouble covering anyone with the Redskins. That’s what led the team to bench him even despite injury issues at the cornerback position late in the season. It’s possible that Norman could bounce back in the right situation or in a scheme that better suits him at this point in his career, but nothing is guaranteed given that he turned 32 in December.
Was there any stretch of his contract that Norman was worth the big deal in Washington?
Recency bias will lead many Washington fans to say no to this question, but in reality, Norman was excellent during his first year with the squad. He also was able to hold up well in coverage during his second year. But after that, he really began to regress and started to get burnt. I would definitely say that Norman lived up to the deal in his first year and probably at least for part of his second year as well. But there’s no doubt that the end result of the contract was a disappointment given his struggles of late.
What’s a best-case scenario in terms of Norman’s fit on a defensive unit? What should a team ask him to do or never ask him to do?
Norman best fits in as either a low-end No. 2 corner for a secondary that is strong at other positions or as a veteran backup. He’s better in zone at this point in his career as he simply doesn’t have the speed needed to keep up with more athletic receivers in man coverage. He can still be physical and jam and the line of scrimmage in press man, but there absolutely needs to be help for him over the top to ensure he doesn’t get burned. Essentially, don’t expect Norman to win in coverage against speed-based receivers. If anything, put him on a more physical player with help to ensure he doesn’t get beaten down the field.
What do you expect the market to yield Norman at this point in terms of commitment and finances?
Norman is likely a candidate for a one-year, “prove it” deal with a contender. He may still have enough left in the tank to be a fine contributor and if he plays in a scheme that best suits his talents, he could potentially emerge as a No. 2 corner again. And at the very least, he should be a fine veteran backup. If you look at the market, Norman probably slots into the $2-$3 million per year range but if there’s a bidding war for his services, that number could go up.