Josh Norman is the highest paid cornerback in the NFL after signing a five-year deal worth $75 million with the Washington Redskins on Friday. While the contract runs until 2020, Washington could have an opportunity to opt out after he turns 30.
Norman will receive $50 million guaranteed, including a $15 million signing bonus. The Redskins had just $12.1 million in cap space to work with prior to the acquisition, but Norman will have an $8 million cap hit in 2016 – including a $5 million fully-guaranteed base salary. Norman’s 2017 base salary of $16.5 million is fully guaranteed with an additional $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses during the final four years of the deal. He will carry a $20 million cap hit next year as a result, which will be the highest on the team in 2017. The expiring deals of wide receivers Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson and linebacker Perry Riley Jr. will free up some money, but the Redskins will still have to juggle Norman’s salary with two possible long-term deals in quarterback Kirk Cousins and tight end Jordan Reed.
The Redskins will pay up to $37 million during the first two years of the deal. Norman’s base salary in 2018, $13.5 million, is guaranteed for injury only or if he’s still on the roster by the fifth day of the new league year. It will allow Washington to re-evaluate his play during an offseason in which the Coastal Carolina product will turn 30 with a cap hit of $17 million.
The final two years of the deal do not have any guarantees. Norman currently will have a base salary of $11 million in 2019 with a cap hit of $14.5 million and a $12 million base salary in 2020 with a $15.5 million cap hit.
The way Norman’s contract is structured in 2016, it should leave Washington with about $4.1 million in cap space. Typically teams will reserve about $5 million to sign their selections in the NFL draft, which begins on Thursday. If the Redskins are tight with money, there are other avenues to create cap space, such as releasing wide receiver Andre Roberts. They currently can’t make that move as he recovers from a knee injury, but it would save $3 million to $4 million depending on whether they place the post-June 1 designation on the transaction.
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