Josh Norman delivered "solid" starting cornerback play for the Redskins in 2018, according to Jay Gruden.

Problem is, the franchise isn't paying Norman to be solid. 

No. 24 is entering the fourth season of a supremely lucrative five-year deal, carrying with him a $14.5 million cap hit.

So, while Washington's head coach is happy Norman is in Burgundy and Gold, he acknowledges he needs the defender to step it up another notch.

"We're looking for more from Josh," Gruden said at league meetings in Phoenix. "He’s going to give us more because we're going to demand more. We're looking for superstar status."

There are reasons for both skepticism and hope when it comes to Norman's improvement. Let's get the negative out of the way first.

First, he's 31 years old. More often than not, you don't see guys dramatically get better once their age crosses 30. 

Beyond that, Norman hasn't always seemed totally comfortable with the 'Skins. There have been questions about whether he really deserves top CB money since his arrival and there are questions about whether coaches are using him the way he should be used. Why expect that to change now?

Well, here comes the hope.

While the Redskins didn't make a change at defensive coordinator, they did bring in a new secondary coach. Perhaps Ray Horton can put Norman in better positions to succeed and ensure his skill set is being properly employed.

Also, the talent around Norman projects to be deeper. Landon Collins is joining the secondary, while the defensive line looks like it should make life very difficult for opposing QBs. If the group can also add a young pass rusher at the top of the draft, Norman will have plenty of playmakers around him. 


Washington's 2019 is going to be very intriguing to watch unfold, and few on the field better embody that than Norman. It could very well be his last in D.C. if he doesn't reach "superstar status" like Gruden wants. If he does, though, he could change the entire narrative of his career with the Redskins.

"I’m glad we got him," Gruden said. "I think moving forward having Josh on the roster will help us get where we want to go.”