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Josh Norman takes the high road when asked to reflect on his time with Washington

Josh Norman takes the high road when asked to reflect on his time with Washington

Josh Norman wasn't the most beloved player in Washington during his tenure with the organization, but he certainly was one of the more interesting.

Media members never knew when a routine interview at the corner's locker would turn into a passionate rant or some bizarre metaphor. That sort of unpredictability basically made every one of his pressers a must-attend event.

So, when Norman's time with the Burgundy and Gold came up during his Thursday Zoom call with reporters in Buffalo, it felt like a place where the now-Bills defender could really sound off. But instead, Norman kept things pretty simple in his answer.

"I don’t stick on what went wrong," he said. "I look at the positives. When everybody is trying to look at the negatives, they’re just harking on that and they think they know who you are just because of that. At the end of the day, I take a lot of bullets and I don’t come out and shoot them back. What for? It’s not needed."

If Norman wanted to lash out at his former coaching staff for how they used him or grumble about how he was essentially benched for the end of the 2019 campaign, it would've been somewhat understandable. He certainly deserves from blame for his less-than-sterling tenure with Washington, but others were culpable as well.

To his credit, however, he chose to mostly focus on his new employer.

"It feels so fresh," Norman said about the vibe with the Bills.

He did find a way to close out that particular part of the call with one unique quote, though. 

"What we’re trying to bring here is something truly special," he said. "I’m just gonna sprinkle a little bit of my pixie dust on it."

Well, for the sake of Bills fans, let's hope that pixie dust is different than whatever he was sprinkling in D.C. these last few years. The recipe for that pixie dust should probably be thrown away, honestly.

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5 steps to $50 million in salary cap space for the Redskins

5 steps to $50 million in salary cap space for the Redskins

The Redskins will roll into the 2020 season with about $48 million in salary-cap space. For a team that’s rebuilding after a terrible 2019 campaign, and will at least have a new head coach if not other significant front office changes, nearly $50 million in cap space should be appealing. 

Here’s the thing, Washington can and should create much more room. 

There is an easy five-step process to creating more than $40 million additional salary cap space. Here it goes (salary information via OvertheCap.com).

Cut Josh Norman / $12.5M saved and $3M hit
-After benching Norman for most of the last half of the 2019 season, it’s a complete no brainer for the Redskins to release him this offseason. Both parties need a fresh start, and Washington could be looking seriously at a first-round cornerback in the NFL draft.

Cut Paul Richardson (post June 1 designation) / $6.5M saved and $2M cap hit
- Two years, 48 catches and two trips to the injured reserve mark a disappointing run for Richardson in Washington. With the emergence of Terry McLaurin and the possibility of picking a star WR like Jerry Jeudy in the first round of the 2020 Draft, it just doesn’t make sense to keep Richardson.

Cut or reach settlement with Jordan Reed / $8.5M saved and $1.8M cap hit
- It’s entirely possible Reed’s NFL career is over after a concussion from August, his seventh documented concussion since his days at the University of Florida. He could retire or maybe the Redskins reach an injury settlement with the talented yet frequently injured tight end. Either way, don’t expect him back in Burgundy and Gold.

Trade or cut Ryan Kerrigan / $11.7M saved and $0 cap hit
- This is far from a sure thing. Very far in fact. Kerrigan is a cornerstone of this franchise and had been the most durable player on the Redskins since he was drafted in 2011. That he finally missed a game and subsequently ended the 2019 season on injured reserve notwithstanding, a new coach or front office could easily elect to keep Kerrigan on the squad in 2020. But, saving nearly $12 million on the cap for a 31-year-old edge rusher with a lot of miles on the tires could be a shrewd move too, particularly if the Redskins embrace a total rebuild. It’s also possible to trade Kerrigan rather than release him; plenty of other teams understand his value. 

Trade or cut Trent Williams / $12.75M savings and $2M cap hit
- One way or another, expect Trent Williams to be out of Washington in 2020. A contract holdout and medical scare turned nuclear in 2019 when the club refused to trade the disgruntled Pro Bowl tackle, and now after Williams finally broke his silence, the bridge is not only burnt but it’s completely disintegrated. Once the Redskins settle on a new coach and whatever changes, if any, occur in the front office are complete, trading Williams needs to be priority No. 1. 

Complete all those moves and Washington would have more than $90 million in cap space. With some expiring contracts that could creep near $100 million. Of course, the team will also sign free agents and need to pay for a full draft class, but that type of money could alter the course of the franchise.

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Why a ‘quiet’ camp could be the key to Josh Norman’s success

Why a ‘quiet’ camp could be the key to Josh Norman’s success

Training camp for Redskins cornerback Josh Norman began with a friendly jab from his head coach Jay Gruden: "I'm not worried about a bull hitting him, he avoids contact."

Norman had a very active off-season as he flew with the Blue Angels and participated in multiple charity endeavors, but his running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain garnered the most attention. 

“Yeah that is true – I’m sure he wasn’t’ concerned because I do avoid contact," Norman said. "Just like I avoided OTA’s. It’s a contact sport, so I didn’t get hurt.”  

It’s worth mentioning that players aren't required to attend off-season OTA’s, and Norman was at mandatory camp where he picked off rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr.; the play was ruled out of bounds but Norman ran it back for a "100-yard touchdown." The player/coach relationship, rooted in trash talking, continued to shine as Gruden then asked a referee to throw a flag on Norman so he could mess with him.  

Fast forward to day four of camp and Norman is showing that an eventful off-season did not interfere with his on-field production.  The $75 million man had a pair of interceptions on day one and attributed it to him just him helping the team.

“If I see ball I get ball, really," Norman said. "I just come out here and do my job and have fun with the game. I've done so much up to now, so I just come back and live in the moment.”

A big part of enjoying the moments for Norman is embracing the fans as he's always one of the last players to leave the field, signing every autograph he possibly can; He attributes that to camp being "quiet."

“Guys are actually working, you can see it. It doesn’t have to be overbearing, it doesn’t have to be a ra-ra thing," Norman said. "It’s just good work, solid execution, and we have that."

"This has been a great training camp so far. It’s been off to a good start, we don’t have any injuries, just a couple hamstrings here and there but we’ve been blessed so far.”

Norman went through the 2017 season without an interception, but snagged three last year.  He now enters year four of his five-year contract and says any personal goals don’t matter if the team doesn’t make the playoffs.

Norman also believes that the addition of pro-bowl safety Landon Collins, and new defensive backs coach, Ray Horton, is huge for them.

“He’s [Horton] played the game, and has so many teams under his belt where he’s coached," Norman said.  "He's seen it all, so when you get a guy like that you want to soak things up like a sponge."

"He’s not overbearing, he’s not pressing, he’s just welcoming and inviting to you being all you can be, and when you got that you want to run through a brick wall for the guy.”

The Redskins have not made the post season while Norman has been in D.C., but it’s a new year and Norman says from offense to defense all seem to understand.

“We are teammates and we have one common goal and that’s to win it all.”

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