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.
After missing the last eight games, the Redskins brought back place-kicker Dustin Hopkins from the injured reserve and waived Nick Rose.
Hopkins became eligible to return from the IR this week and took part in practice all week. Jay Gruden wouldn't commit to one kicker or the other when he spoke earlier in the week, but the decision came down on Saturday.
Rose played well in Hopkins' absence, making 10 of 11 field goals including a 55-yarder. The rookie Rose had some struggles with extra points, missing two of his 20 attempts, though neither snap/hold combination was totally clean either.
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Hopkins has the stronger leg and is capable of booting the ball out of the end zone on seemingly every kickoff. With Rose as kicker, at times the Redskins deployed a different strategy where kicks were aimed for the goal line, forcing a return.
Washington's kicker for parts of the last three seasons, Hopkins has a career 84 percent field goal conversion rate and 94.6 percent conversion rate on extra points in 36 games.
The Redskins sent Hopkins to the IR after a Week 6 win over the 49ers with a right hip rotator muscle injury.
MORE REDSKINS: SLOW STARTS HAVE BEEN KILLING THE REDSKINS
For the second consecutive game, the Redskins got blown out on the road. First in Dallas, then in Los Angeles, Jay Gruden's team is reeling with mounting questions and pressures about 2018 and beyond.
The best way to calm down the flames? Get a win.
Washington will have that chance on Sunday at 1 p.m. (full coverage on NBC Sports Washington at noon) when they host the Arizona Cardinals. Getting the victory won't be easy, however, no matter how bad the Redskins need it.
- Turn the page - The Redskins have lost their last two games by a combined score of 68-27. The results have been terrible, and the outcome in Los Angeles could have been much uglier had the Chargers not pulled starting QB Philip Rivers. Still, those games are over, and Washington needs to focus on the Cardinals. Gruden spoke this week that his team cannot "wallow" in the past two losses. If the Redskins are looking back at their lost season, instead of looking squarely at Arizona, another blowout loss is likely to come.
- Get it going - Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had by far their worst statistical output last week in LA. The offense must get back on track, and that means a better performance from Cousins and the 'Skins run game. Against the Chargers, Washington generated only 201 total yards and just nine first downs. Nine, their second worst total since having only 15 first downs against the Cowboys the week before. At this stage of the season, the Redskins defense will not win this team any games. The offense must do it, and that means improved play from the line, the quarterback and the skill positions.
- Make a play - Turnovers can win or lose games, and in their last two blowout losses, it's no surprise the Redskins have been on the wrong end of the ledger. Washington has five turnovers in their last two games, and has generated only one takeaway in that span. (It can be argued that shouldn't even count, as it came on an interception from Chargers backup Kellen Clemens in the final minutes of a blowout.) Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in points per game allowed, and that won't improve with linebacker Zach Brown out this weekend. Generating turnovers, particularly against Arizona QB Blaine Gabbert, should be the defensive focus.
Quote of the Week: Jay Gruden, asked about preparation before the Chargers game-
We didn't spend last week playing checkers.
News & Notes:
- Gabbert has been sacked 15 times in the Cardinals last two games. Washington comes into Week 15 with the 13th most sacks in the league.
- The Cardinals defense ranks in the Top 10 in yards per play, yards per game, and rush yards per game. Despite that, Arizona's defense ranks 25th in points allowed.
- D.J. Swearinger, who played for Arizona last season before signing in Washington as a free agent, is tied for fourth in the NFC in interceptions.
- Jordan Reed won't be playing this week, or the remainder of the season. Washington moved Reed to the injured reserve this week.
- Arizona coach Bruce Arians was a college quarterback at Virginia Tech from 1972 to 1974.
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