Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman slouched down in front of his locker room stall at Redskins Park on Monday and spoke in a quiet, hushed tone. For close to a half an hour, the 31-year-old cornerback reminisced on his time in Washington and the expectations reached and missed as he finished the third year of his five-year, $75 million contract.
And despite missing the playoffs for the third straight season with the Redskins, Norman said he expects to be with the team next year. He is under contract, so the only way he wouldn’t be back is if the team chose to trade or release him for salary-cap purposes.
“We'll see,” Norman said. “Whenever they decide to have a meeting, we'll see. And we'll go from there. Like I said, contract, I'm here. Five years. Like I said, I think it's one of my best seasons yet, and we don't grow on trees. So we'll see what happens.”
Norman became the highest paid cornerback in the NFL when he signed with the Redskins in April 2016. Norman, whom the team saw as a building block for its defense, received $50 million guaranteed with a $15 million signing bonus. Norman said he knows people would assume he “came for money” when he signed, but he insists he chose Washington because of his faith in the organization.
“To be quite honest with you, man, I had that [contract] number somewhere else as well, so it wasn’t that,” Norman said. “It was the fact that I believe in this group and the guys that was here and I saw something that could be done to be changed and I was for it.”
With the Redskins' 2018 campaign ending Sunday with a 24-0 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Norman is still under contract for two more years. In 2019, Norman will count for $14.5 million against the Redskins’ salary cap, which is the third-highest number among players on the roster, behind quarterback Alex Smith and left tackle Trent Williams. If the team were to release Norman before June 1, $6 million would count against the cap, but a post-June 1 cut would count just $3 million, according to the contracts website spotrac.com. That would represent significant salary cap savings for a team that figures to have some work to do on its roster this offseason.
Norman, who tallied three interceptions on the season and 64 combined tackles — matching his season total from 2017 — remains confident he is still a top corner in the league, despite the team’s overall disappointing season.
“It's just really disappointing that it just didn't work out the way you expect it to sometimes, what you expected to be doing,” Norman said. “It really is a tough pill to swallow, but at the same time, it's what we have. You've just got to play the cards you've been dealt. You can't get them back.”
When asked if he believes the coaches have maximized his ability by how they’ve used him in the secondary, he responded with uncertainty, but said “we tried.”
“I do what I'm asked to do,” Norman said. “But can I do more, of course. I would like to come off the edge a couple times … be impactful in that sense. But I do whatever I'm asked to do and do it to the best of my abilities. That's all I can do.”
Norman said his goal is — and has always been — to win a Super Bowl championship, adding that the accolades that come with it are “irrelevant” in the grand scheme of his vision for the rest of his football career.
And when he finally gets a Super Bowl championship?
“When that happens, you can kiss my [butt] goodbye,” Norman said. “I’m out. Because I’ve got so many things going on outside of this. It’s almost like a steppingstone, to be honest. I’ll be bigger outside of this than I will be inside of it. Believe that.”
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