Last night, immediately after the top-line numbers for Josh Norman’s contract came out it looked like Redskins had paid a ton of money for his services. But you should always wait until the full details of the contract emerge. They have and while Norman is going to be well paid, there are exit ramps that can be taken after two and three years that will prevent them from needing to pay top dollar to a cornerback who will be 33 by the time the five-year deal expires.
Here are some of the key aspects of the contract:
—The cap hit for this year is $8 million dollars. That comes from the prorated portion of his $15 million signing bonus (charged to the cap at $3 million/year) and a $5 million salary. All of that is fully guaranteed. It leaves the Redskins with about $3.6 million in 2016 cap space. They will have to make some moves before they start signing their draft picks (which will eat up almost all of that remaining space) but that is at least a couple of weeks away.
—In 2017 the big money gets rolled out, with a $16.5 million salary that is fully guaranteed. Norman can also earn up to $500,000 in roster bonuses, $31,250 for each game that he is on the 46-man active roster. Add in the $3 million prorated signing bonus and you have a cool $20 million cap charge, the highest single year in the deal.
—The Redskins will have a decision to make before March of 2018. That is when his $13.5 million salary, currently guaranteed for injury only, become fully guaranteed. If they want to move on after two seasons they will have paid Norman $36.5 million and will incur a dead cap chart of $9 million. If they decide to hold on to him the cap charge will be $17 million.
—There is no guaranteed money in the last two years of the deal. The cap numbers are $14.5 million in 2019 and $15.5 million in 2020. They could let him go prior to the 2019 season and incur a $6 million dead cap charge; the dead cap drops to $3 million in 2020.
Prior to the signing the Redskins were on track to have some $50 million of cap space in 2017. Norman is now slated to take up a big chunk of that and the Redskins also will need to pay Kirk Cousins as a franchise-type quarterback, plus both receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon will be free agents as will defenders Junior Galette and Chris Baker. It will be tough to juggle and some hard decisions will have to be made.