A former NFC South foe was cut on Friday morning. After the Carolina Panthers did not meet his contractual demands in free agency back in 2016, Josh Norman — an elite corner at the time — signed a five-year, $75 million contract. He was not the same caliber player for the Washington Redskins and is now on the open market.
So that raises the question of whether the Falcons should sign Norman. I will say this; I like the idea of it more than I like the player, and I will explain that in further detail in a moment.
Norman is more of a name at this point. He has fallen off big time throughout his time with Washington. In his final season with Carolina back in 2015, he posted an 88.9 grade in coverage from Pro Football Focus. Since then, he has steadily declined, posting 76.7, 69.3, 72, and most recently in 2019, an atrocious 43.4 grade. Opposing quarterbacks had a near-perfect passer rating when targeting Norman last season.
Could Norman benefit from a change of scenery? Sure. I just believe he is going to think he is worth more than what he deserves as a free agent, but that is an opinion.
So why should anyone be a fan of the idea if Norman appears to be washed? I like the idea more than the player himself. If Norman will take a small, one-year deal, it could be beneficial for the team. I believe the Falcons should be looking to bring in a veteran and rookie corner this offseason to sure-up their secondary. The reason I am entertaining Norman as an option is due to the fact that he was cut by his team. This means he will not count against the compensatory-pick equation, something I think the Falcons must take into account when shaping up the 2020 roster.
Arthur Blank is loved by his players because he takes care of them, but at times, he can be too loyal. Now, he is forced to deal with the implications of retaining everybody throughout the years. It is tough drafting and developing a player to see him walk. However, the Falcons are projected to have zero compensatory picks this upcoming draft. If they are just going to sign bodies, as they did last season to “fix” the offensive line, they need to make sure these players were cut by their former teams and don’t count against the formula. With Vic Beasley and potentially Austin Hooper walking in free agency, the Falcons could miss out on some quality mid-round picks, and given their current cap situation and star players already intact, they need as many cheap contracts on the team as possible.
So, if Norman will take an inexpensive deal, it could help the Falcons in the short and long term while making for an intriguing experiment. If the Falcons are between him and another veteran, always go with the guy who was cut. How much he has left in the tank is a whole different question.