It's been a rough month for Redskins cornerback Josh Norman. Check that. It's been a rough season for Redskins cornerback Josh Norman.
The 32-year-old was benched prior to the Redskins Week 12 victory over Detroit, yet interim head coach Bill Callahan continued to keep Norman active on game days, despite clearly not having a plan to play No. 24. In the four weeks since his benching, Norman has seen Aaron Colvin, Danny Johnson and Simeon Thomas all earn snaps before him.
On Sunday, due to injuries in the secondary to Quinton Dunbar, Jimmy Moreland, and Fabian Moreau, Callahan was forced to insert Norman into the game vs. Philadelphia. With the Redskins up three with just 26 seconds remaining, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz lofted up a pass in Norman's direction. The cornerback was unable to jump with Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward -- a former college quarterback and AAF standout who has just 11 career receptions entering Sunday.
Ward hauled on the game-winner, and the Redskins fell to the Eagles for the sixth consecutive time.
For the first time since he was benched, Norman spoke to the media following Sunday's loss. And the cornerback was surprisingly upbeat, something unexpected from the player who conceded the game-winning touchdown.
"Yeah, it's a tough pill to swallow in itself just because of who you are, and you know that this league is all a formality and the situations you try to play in," Norman continued on his benching. "I've been blessed. I truly have been. This is a great spirit for me."
Whether it's coincidental or not, the Redskins secondary had been playing a lot better with Norman on the sidelines. Moreau, who has moved to the outside from the slot, has notched three interceptions during that span. Dunbar had been Pro Football Focus' top-rated cornerback for much of 2019.
Norman, although he's been benched for a bunch of unproven players, still believes he's one of the best in the NFL at his position.
"I don't believe anything. I am," Norman said when asked if he thought he was still an elite cornerback. "When you are something you don't believe it, you go out and do it. Sucks that I can't prove it right now, but formalities and situations, you've got to play the cards you're dealt."
With one year remaining on the five-year, $75 million contract that Norman signed in 2016, it's almost certain Washington will cut ties with the cornerback this offseason. Should he stay, Norman has a $15.5 million cap hit for 2020. But with no guaranteed money remaining and just a $3 million cap hit should he be cut before June 1, 2020, it's hard to imagine a situation with Norman sporting a burgundy and gold jersey in 2020.
Norman was asked about his future with Washington following Sunday's loss.
"I'm still under contract for a year so we'll see what happens, Norman said. "Someone higher deals the cards, I just have to play the hand. I don't deal those cards."
We've seen crazier things in the NFL, but it sounds like Norman knows his days with Washington are numbered and is just trying to keep a positive outlook on everything until he finds his next NFL home.
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