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Will Josh Norman be with the Redskins in 2019?

Will Josh Norman be with the Redskins in 2019?

In 2016, the Redskins made Josh Norman the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL when they signed him to a five-year, $75 million contract. Now that deal is beginning to look like an albatross that the Redskins may want to terminate as soon as next year. 

When the contract was signed it looked like the Redskins were getting a good deal. Norman was coming off of an All-Pro season with the Carolina Panthers, who surprised everyone when they decided to rescind the franchise tag they had put on him. He was a playmaker who had intercepted four passes, returned two of them for touchdowns, and forced three fumbles. 

However, Norman would turn 29 late in his first season playing under that mega contract. He had a great contract season but prior to that, he had spent three seasons struggling at times and getting benched for stretches of games as well. These facts were glossed over by the team. 

In his 34 games in Washington, Norman has played well most of the time. He has continued to force fumbles, collecting two in each of his two full seasons in Washington. But his last interception came on December 24 of the 2016 season. He got two picks of Matt Barkley that day in Chicago. His other interception for the Redskins came earlier that year. It was off of Cody Kessler of the Browns. Norman has had none in his past 19 games. 

While the Redskins wanted to see more game-changing plays for their investment of $15 million per season, it was acceptable as long as he continued to shut down opposing receivers. According to Pro Football Focus, there were just three games last year when he allowed more than 41 yards passing against him. In six games he allowed 25 or fewer yards. 

But it has been a different story this year, particularly in the last two games. Against the Packers and Saints, he has allowed a total of 164 yards and three touchdowns. 

He hit rock bottom against the Saints. On the first defensive series, he committed a holding call that negated a third-down stop. The New Orleans drive continued and ended in the end zone. As Drew Brees continued to torch the Redskins’ secondary Norman was caught freelancing and out of position all too often. It got to the point where Jay Gruden decided to bench him for the first series of the second half. Norman went back into the game after Greg Stroman, his replacement, got burned for a touchdown. 

It’s early and things could turn around but with a quarter of the season in the books, it’s fair to consider what to do with Norman after the season is over. His cap charge goes down from almost $17 million this year to $14.5 million in 2019. That’s better but it’s still high. Based on the contracts in force right now Norman would be fifth on the list of the highest 2019 salary cap charges for cornerbacks. If he’s not playing up to that deal it will be a problem for a team that is tight on cap space next year

They could elect to release him. They would incur a dead cap charge of $6 million but save a net of $8.5 million in cap space. If they want to spread out the dead cap charge they could designate him as a post-June 1 cut and create $11.5 million in additional 2019 cap space while pushing $3 million of dead cap to 2020. 

An alternative might be to talk to Norman and attempt to renegotiate his contract, perhaps something that would reduce his $11 million salary in exchange for some incentives that would allow him to earn some of it back. It would then be up to Norman to decide if he wants to take the pay cut or if he would rather take his chances hitting the free agent market at the age of 31. 

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Please realize how impressive it is that Adrian Peterson is returning for a third year with the Redskins

Please realize how impressive it is that Adrian Peterson is returning for a third year with the Redskins

What was supposed to be a miniseries is now being renewed for a third, full season.

On Wednesday, the Redskins announced they're exercising Adrian Peterson's team option for 2020, meaning the running back will return to Washington for another year in their backfield.

The natural reaction to news like that in today's sports landscape is to retweet it, or send the story to a buddy, or reflect on it for about seven seconds — and then immediately spin it forward. 

Will he start in Week 1? What does this say about Derrius Guice? Will the team still be thinking about drafting a running back? And asking questions like that is absolutely fine, since they're all worth considering.

Still, just chill for a bit before launching into what's next, because what's happened already with Peterson's Redskins career is remarkable and worth reflecting on.

When the former MVP signed with the Burgundy and Gold a few weeks before the 2018 season began, it felt completely possible that he'd be gone before even appearing in a meaningful contest. His contract was for one year and it was worth the NFL minimum. It was a total flyer for what was then a desperate offense.

But then Peterson showed his trademark burst in an exhibition matchup with the Broncos, hinting that he was no flyer. Then he posted 96 yards and a rushing touchdown in the opener in Arizona. Then two weeks later, he went off for 120 yards and two scores in a win versus the Packers.

Quickly, it became clear: The guy no one wanted was turning out to be the guy for the Redskins offense.

More highlights followed, including a 64-yard end zone visit against the Giants, a 90-yarder in Philly on Monday Night Football and a 119-yard effort in his penultimate appearance of the campaign.

All together, Peterson topped 1,000 yards for the eighth time in his career — as a 33-year-old behind an offensive line that changed constantly. So, the Redskins inked him to a two-year contract last offseason, rewarding him for his tremendous output. The expectation was that he'd share carries with Guice and Chris Thompson in 2019, helping out in more of a shared role.

Peterson, though, doesn't really abide by expectations.

After a bizarre Week 1 where then-coach Jay Gruden made No. 26 a healthy scratch, Peterson stepped in for an injured Guice and assumed the main role again. 15 starts later, the 34-year-old finished with another 898 yards and five TDs — on an even more limited offense that was without its two best blockers for the majority of its plays.

As a Redskin, he's carried the ball 462 times for 1,940 yards. He's racked up 12 rushing scores to go along with a receiving TD. The only time he's missed a game was when his head coach inexplicably deemed him not worthy of suiting up.

More often than not, a longtime, one-team legend will change uniforms late in their athletic life and quietly fade away. Their highlight reels won't feature a single clip from that final stop, pretending like it never happened. 

Peterson isn't exactly fading with the Redskins. Peterson isn't really fading at all with the Redskins, in fact. And now, the man whom Ron Rivera called the "epitome of what it means to be a pro in this league" is coming back for a third go-round.

Shortly after Washington's Wednesday announcement, Peterson tweeted at a photo of himself along with a caption that read, "Still going strong!!!" The post also featured an emoji of a fully-juiced battery.

In reality, the battery of Peterson's career is closer to 0% than it is 100%. But instead of trying to project the day when it finally runs out, sit back and enjoy what's left.

Yes, Peterson will ultimately be remembered as a Viking, but he's also giving Redskins fans plenty of memories. It feels like there's more to come, too.

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Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Report: Jordan Reed has cleared concussion protocol, wants to continue playing football

Just days after it was reported that Jordan Reed was still in concussion protocol six months after suffering one last August against the Falcons, the Redskins tight end is apparently healthy once again.

According to The Athletic, Reed has cleared concussion protocol and wants to continue playing professional football. Reed missed the entire season due to the concussion he suffered in Atlanta, the seventh documented concussion of his football career. 

While Reed may still want to suit up, it's unlikely it will be with Washington.

The Redskins are expected to release the tight end, who is entering the second to last season of a five-year, $46 million extension he signed following the 2015 season. The Redskins would save $8.5 million against the cap if they parted ways with Reed prior to June 1.

New head coach Ron Rivera has already parted with multiple veterans, releasing cornerback Josh Norman and Paul Richardson last Friday. Norman had one year remaining on his deal, while Richardson had three.

When asked about the tight end position earlier this month, Rivera wasn't shy about the team needing to improve the unit.

"Do we have our tight end? Probably not," Redskins head coach Ron Rivera said on Redskins Nation on Feb. 4. "That’s a big question mark." 

Two tight ends the Redskins could seek in free agency are Austin Hooper and Eric Ebron, among others.

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