ASHBURN, Va. -- When the Carolina Panthers removed the franchise tag on Josh Norman, the cornerback became the first player in league history to enter free agency after being selected All-Pro the previous season.
Is this true? The internet will tell us with a little research, but it doesn't really matter. It's doubtful Scot McCloughan knew that piece of trivia, which he dropped during his pre-draft press conference, when news broke last Wednesday. Just 10 minutes after learning Norman was available on the open market., the Redskins general manager knew the organization must bounce, quickly.
Two days later, the Redskins signed Norman to a five-year, $75 million contract with $50 million guaranteed.
"He was the first player ever to be named All-Pro to become a free agent. So, yeah, we're excited," McCloughan said at Redskins Park.
The urgency wasn't just about adding a talented 28-year-old defender in the prime of his career coming off a season in which he helped lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl.
"I don't want to mention how many teams were involved, but it was a lot," McCloughan said. "We knew we had to get him right away and get him on an airplane."
That happened Friday afternoon. Norman didn't leave until a deal was done. In between Washington didn't have much time for much in the way of background checks. Instead McCloughan relied on scouting from the team's meeting with Carolina last season. With the on-field positives and available cap space, the organization went from having an extremely quiet free agency season to making a blockbuster signing.
McCloughan made it clear he remains a full believer in building through the draft and that this signing was an example using free agency as a tool. Yet there are ramifications. Norman will count as $20 million to the 2017 salary cap and the Redskins have several key players entering free agency next offseason.
"I don't want to get too much into the numbers, but we had an idea," McCloughan said of the cost and salary cap factor. "We're going to take care of our own. That's the most important thing. We're going to draft well and go forward."
The idea of spending money on their own players came up during the final question at the press conference.
“All the guys love the signing, but guys want to know, is there any more money left for guys like, uh, Chris Baker or Jordan Reed?”
The person asking the question, Chris Baker, who broke into a deep laugh.
“I’ve got you Bake, you’ll be all right,” McCloughan replied with a smile.
As for that All Pro nugget, the internet reveals McCloughan didn't get it right. At least previous one player with such a distinction did enter free agency the following season. That player, Albert Haynesworth. React accordingly to such news. Just know McCloughan reacted quickly when the chance to add a dynamic cornerback came up.
To get instant Redskins notifications, download the NEW Scout mobile app for iOS HERE!