I was at Josh Norman’s introductory press conference Monday at Redskins Park and one thought continued to cross my mind, ‘WTF were the Panthers thinking?’ I understand football is a business, but this guy is coming off an ‘all pro’ season and by all accounts does not feel like he’s arrived. Norman has his best football in front of him and the Panthers let him walk.
As a longtime Redskin fan I understand the concern with many in the fan base. We have all come to learn: if it is too good to be true, it probably is, especially when it comes to the Redskins and free agency. They have been burned a lot with big contracts, and yes Norman’s is a whopper: 5-years, $75(M) with $36(M) in guarantees.
This is GM Scot McCloughan’s first high-dollar free agent. He has been very careful with his roster building and his cap space. He doesn’t like to throw big dollars at free agents, but he did for a player he feels can help them win lots of football games. A player he thinks is special.
Anytime there is a signing like this one I like to get as many informed opinions as possible. Monday, former Panthers GM Marty Hurney joined us on “Inside the Locker Room” to add his insights on the player he draft in 2012 in the 5th round out of Coastal Carolina.
Hurney disputes the perception that Norman is a product of the Panthers system. “He can shut down a side,” he said. “I mean people say he’s a system corner, look at him against Julio Jones look at him against DeAndre Hopkins this year.
“He can play man coverage, he can play zone coverage. He has a great knack for sniffing out routes and breaking on the ball and I think he’s going to help the Redskins a lot this year.”
Hall of Famer CB Darrell Green also joined the show Monday afternoon to add his insight. He saw Norman as a rookie up-close in Carolina in 2012 when his son Jared was on the Panthers practice squad. “Josh is that guy who worked his way into that place,” said Green. “Me and Deion (Sanders) were born with something different. Most guys work their way to greatness.” Green also praised Norman for being a student of the game, and likes his mentality.
One of the great things about Norman was on display Monday at his press conference. He literally just finished working out with his new teammates at the facility. He’s not taking any shortcuts. He will face plenty of scrutiny among his peers, fans, and the media. The new contract will be brought up constantly.
During his press conference, Norman referred to carrying ‘luggage on his back.’ Now he can only work toward the day he gets to unload it on the field, when the Redskins host the Steelers September 12th on Monday Night Football.