So much for remaining quiet in free agency
The news of the day is, as Donald Trump would say, huge: Josh Norman is now a member of the Washington Redskins.
Adding arguably the NFL's top cover corner is both a stunning move and a game-changer in ways on and off the field. The price is steep and could have long-term ramifications for the roster building.
Yet adding a player with Norman's potential impact at one of the most important positions on the field is in theory nothing but positive. It's not just about spending money for football players, but spending money wisely.
Before getting into some post-signing questions, let's look at money and those key positions. Last year NFL.com ranked positions based on importance. Here's the top 5:
- Pass rusher
- Left tackle
- Left cornerback
- Top wide receiver
According to the salary cap website Sportrac, here are the Redskins with the largest cap hits for 2016 not including Norman.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins ($19.95 million via one-year franchise tag)
- Left tackle Trent Williams ($10.7)
- Wide receiver Pierre Garcon ($10.2)
- Cornerback Chris Culliver ($9.25)
- Wide receiver DeSean Jackson ($9.25)
- Pass rusher/linebacker Ryan Kerrigan ($8.45)
These six players were the only members of the roster to account for at least 5% off the 2016 salary cap. All play one of those top 5 most important positions. Same for Norman, who will surely join this group once the terms are revealed.
There is overlap at receiver of course, but there were unusual circumstance when Jackson, like Norman, became a free agent late in the process. Of course, both of the receivers come off the books after this season.
Junior Galette isn't on this list, but he might provide the Redskins with high impact for modest dollars. We all understand this scenario also came suddenly last summer and led to Washington re-signing the sack master at a potential bargain price.
As for Norman, here are some of the key questions to ponder heading into the draft and going forward:
- How does this move impact the Redskins salary cap? The devil are in the details with how that $50 million guaranteed is spread out. [UPDATED: Some details]
- Staying with the cap, will the Redskins keep Culliver now that they spent significant dollars on another CB? Washington can reportedly get out from his deal without any dead money issue, but the Redskins probably don't want to unload Culliver for how he can help on the field. If not Culliver's contract, how will the Redskins make this work while keeping room open for other moves?
- What if anything changes with the Redskins draft plan? If we already thought Redskins GM Scot McCloughan wants to trade down from 21, there is no reason to alter that stance now. If anything, we should arguably become more bullish because rookies are cheaper than vets and the Redskins won't have as much in the way of cap space now.
- How will Redskins plan on deploying all their corners and the scheme the defensive overall? Fun and nerdy offseason topic.
- How much of that $75 million will Norman, No. 24 in Carolina, pay Duke Ihenacho for that number in Washington?
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