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Three reasons why cutting Josh Norman isn’t the best idea for the Redskins

Three reasons why cutting Josh Norman isn’t the best idea for the Redskins

On Wednesday, the Redskins made a few obvious roster moves – releasing Zach Brown and Stacy McGee – that cleared up a nice chunk of cap space. 

Moving forward in free agency, the team still can make a couple of other similar transactions – names like Vernon Davis and Mason Foster come to mind – that would free up additional cash. 

However, some fans are wondering if a surprise cut is coming, one that would involve a major player on the roster and really impact Washington’s budget for bringing in new talent. And the player mentioned most often for this type of decision is Josh Norman. 

But is getting rid of Norman to save $8.5 million the most logical option for the Redskins? Perhaps not. 

Here are three reasons why dropping the corner isn’t the best idea. 

1) His contract can work this year 

Between Norman and Landon Collins, the ‘Skins have an unusually high amount of cash allocated to the secondary. Still, that situation can function for 2019.

On the Redskins Talk podcast Wednesday, NFL financial expert J.I. Halsell explained that Collins’ $4 million cap hit means the Burgundy and Gold can handle both he and No. 24 together. 

According to Halsell, the franchise doesn’t really have to make a call on Norman until 2020, when he’ll still be expensive, and Collins’ price jumps more than $10 million. In 2019, though, the arrangement is tenable, thanks largely to how cheap the defense’s front seven is. 

2) He’s a playmaker and they don’t have many

Norman hasn’t fully thrived in D.C. in his three years since popping as a Panther, but he’s been pretty effective in two of his three seasons and is coming off what looks like his best campaign in Washington. 

In 2018, the DB picked off three passes, forced three fumbles, and scooped up a loose ball, too. Those are valuable, game-altering plays for a unit that doesn’t contain many guys beyond him, and hopefully now Collins, producing those kinds of highlights. 

While he’s being paid to be a top-level corner and hasn’t matched that compensation as of yet, he’s been a positive influence on the defense. Plus, who knows? Maybe new secondary coach Ray Horton can unlock more from the veteran. 

3) Who would fill his spot?

The Redskins are already inexperienced on the outside with Norman. Without him? They’d be insanely young. 

Quinton Dunbar is the second-most proven player on the depth chart, and he’s a once-converted wideout coming off a mysterious shin injury. After him is third-year pro Fabian Moreau and then three CBs who will all be entering their second go-round in the NFL. 

Would it be nice to have $8.5 million more to use to address left guard or receiver? Absolutely. But is that money worth draining an already thin spot? Not really. 

The best path for the Redskins is to keep Norman for 2019, see how he fits alongside his new All-Pro safety and then reevaluate next March. Cutting Norman now would likely do much more harm to the organization than good. 

Now, trading him is another story, because at least they could justify getting rid of his skills to bring in another useful commodity. Yet an outright release would be a questionable end to his tenure here.

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Derrius Guice reportedly hurt his knee again before Washington released him

Derrius Guice reportedly hurt his knee again before Washington released him

A news storm ensued after Derrius Guice was arrested on domestic violence charges and subsequently released by the Washington Football Team. Seemingly lost in the shuffle was some news about yet another knee injury for the third-year running back. 

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Guice hurt his knee again the day before he was released.

This would have been huge news for the former second-round pick, who's grappled with knee injuries throughout the first two seasons of his career. He suffered a torn ACL as a rookie, a meniscus tear at the beginning of last season and an MCL sprain later on in 2019 as well.

There was hope for Guice to become a featured back, and he certainly had the ability to become one had he been able to stay healthy. 

RELATED: RIVERA EXPLAINS DECISION TO CUT GUICE

It's unclear how much another knee injury had to do with Guice's release, though it certainly couldn't have made things easier on Guice's hopes to stay on the roster. He later went unclaimed on waivers, making him a free agent for the first time in his young career.

Washington doesn't have much time to worry about Guice now. They have to figure out how to distribute the carries between Adrian Peterson, J.D. McKissic, Peyton Barber, Antonio Gibson and Bryce Love without a preseason schedule to test things out.

With their first taste of game action this season set as a September 13 clash with the Eagles, Peterson figures to start off as the lead back behind Dwayne Haskins based on experience alone. Peterson has over 3,000 career carries under his belt while the other four options have combined for 639.

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Alex Smith could make 'interesting' battle for QB practice reps with Dwayne Haskins

Alex Smith could make 'interesting' battle for QB practice reps with Dwayne Haskins

Training camp should be a major opportunity for Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins to get a lot of work with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner and the new playbook, but if Alex Smith is healthy, the reps for Haskins might shrink.

"The biggest thing we’ve got to do is not make sure we’re divvying up the reps as evenly as possible, but we divvy up who they work against. This could be a very interesting challenge for us because of QB Alex Smith. If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he’s going to be in the throes of this competition," head coach Ron Rivera said on Monday. 

The Washington Football Team drafted Haskins 15th overall last year, only after Smith suffered a broken leg in November 2018. Rivera wasn't around for either of the decisions to draft Haskins or trade for Smith, but now the new coach gets to try and solve the QB riddle in Washington. 

Haskins struggled as a rookie in part because he didn't get much practice work with the first team offense. It was obvious how little Haskins knew of the offense and his offensive teammates when he first got on the field in Week 4 last year. Some of that might have been self-inflicted, regardless, Haskins needed the work. 

Now in his second season, Haskins got exactly zero team drills in this offseason due to Coronavirus. None. 

So, with what should be the most important training camp of his young professional career, Haskins again might face another hurdle in the return of Smith. 

Smith deserves tremendous accolades for his recovery after 17 surgeries and intense infection in his leg. But is Smith getting back on the field the best thing for a young Washington team trying to rebuild?

Haskins is 23. Smith is 36.

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Haskins has tremendous potential, Smith has already proven he can produce.

Haskins has started seven NFL games. Smith has started seven NFL playoff games. 

Considering all of that, Haskins should get the most work of any Washington passer.

Take note that Rivera didn't say the reps needed to be equitable, but rather the level of competition. Haskins needs more reps than Smith or Kyle Allen.

RELATED: WHICH WASHINGTON PLAYER HAS A LOT RIDING ON THE 2020 SEASON?

Smith has been in the NFL since he was drafted first overall in 2005. Allen started 13 games for Rivera and Turner in the last two seasons. Haskins hasn't even been through a padded practice with Rivera and Turner. 

It makes total sense to get Allen reps against the first-team defense. He needs to be prepared. And should Smith get medically cleared to be back on the field against a defense, he should get some of those reps too. Washington needs to see what Smith has left if he actually gets cleared for football.

Still, Haskins should get the majority of that work. He needs it, and Rivera needs to see what he has in the former Ohio State star. 

Smith's recovery is an incredible story, but Rivera's plan in Washington is a long-term rebuild to put together a consistent playoff team. That means getting Haskins on the field as much as possible. 

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