In the days following the Redskins decision to not reach a long-term deal with Kirk Cousins, one theory has populated: Washington chose to pay free agent Josh Norman instead of their QB.
In a way, it's true. Washington gave Norman a five-year, $75 million contract in April after the cornerback surprisingly hit the open market. Conversely, Cousins will play this season on the franchise tag, and little negotiating was done between the quarterback and the 'Skins towards a multi-year deal.
Examined logically, however, the theory is silly. Cousins will be paid nearly $20 million guaranteed just for this season; four times the $5 million guaranteed Norman is set to recieve for 2016.
Regardless, fans and some analysts have floated the idea that the Redskins paying Norman in free agency more than the team was willing to pay for their own player in Cousins is a reach back to the era when Washington often overpaid to bring in older players without recognizing developing talent on their own roster.
Whatever the decision process to sign Norman, this is not one of those situations. The former Carolina Panther CB was arguably the best on-ball secondary player in the NFL last fall, and he won't even turn 29 until December. Further, Norman's deal offers the organization outs in the latter years of the contract, should GM Scot McCloughan determine the need.
Maybe Cousins saw the Norman deal, then saw his own deal not get done, and cared - but that seems unlikely. Cousins has repeated over and over that he plans to focus on football this fall and any contract stuff will take care of itself. Further, Cousins is also smart enough to understand that his contract - or any starting QB contract really - has the potential to be much more lucrative than a five-year, $75 million deal. Trying to compare the deal for Norman against a possible deal for Cousin is not like comparing apples and oranges, it's more like comparing apples and staplers - two objects with little common relevance.
Norman may not have the extended track record of some NFL corners, which perhaps landed him on some overrated lists and prompted Odell Beckham to take an unneeded shot at the corner. But it would be foolish to claim Norman did not command $75 million on the open market.
What the open market would play Cousins remains to be seen - and Washington shrewdly limited the QB from hitting that market this offseason. But the decision to get Norman likely had no impact on the contract talks with Cousins, and suggestions contrary to that seem misconstrued.
Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.