Former Washington Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot believes the organization would be better off parting ways with top cornerback Josh Norman, who has the fifth-highest cap hit of any player at the position.
After signing a five-year deal worth $75 million in 2016 that made him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, Josh Norman has been a disappointment in the Washington Redskins secondary.
In each of the past two seasons, Norman has failed to defend 10 passes, and he hasn’t looked like the bona fide shutdown corner who once challenged Richard Sherman as the best player at the position.
Former Washington cornerback Fred Smoot, who is never shy to provide his insight or speak his mind, had some harsh words for Norman.
On the Redskins Talk podcast, Smoot stated that the team would be better off releasing Norman this offseason before training camp instead of waiting until 2020 to get rid of his huge cap hit, which will rise from $14.5 to $15.5 million.
Here’s the transcription of the quote, via Pro Football Talk.
“You wouldn’t go to a used car lot and try to pay new car prices, would you? At the end of the day, for what we pay for this guy, we’re not getting that return on that investment. I’m sorry, we paid too much for the car, it’s time we trade it back in.”
As always, Smoot has a way with words.
He also has a great point. Norman has no more guaranteed money on the final two years of his contract, and he may be past his prime at the age of 31. Though Norman made some plays for the Washington defense with three interceptions in the 2018 season, the way his play has fallen off since 2016 could be an indication that a sudden bounce-back season in 2019 is highly unlikely.
Releasing Norman this offseason would clear out a $14.5 million cap hit, and while free agency is over, Washington could use that money to trade for a new No. 1 cornerback. Patrick Peterson has been mired in trade rumors, but that seems unlikely at this point, especially since Washington probably isn’t an attractive landing spot to a player wanting to be on a contending team.
There’s no doubt that Norman will be playing elsewhere before the 2020 season begins, but given the fact that Washington has no other proven cornerbacks on its depth chart, they may have to swallow Norman’s salary in 2019.
Smoot is right in pointing out that, ideally, Washington would move on, save some money, and potentially seek a trade partner, but that’s all easier said than done.
With rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins set to take the reigns, Washington may not want to gut a secondary that already has question marks with Norman as its best cornerback.