When the Washington Redskins managed to toast the success of signing All Pro cornerback Josh Norman I was repeating the Boston bar welcome in my head. After all everybody knows your name when you have just played in a Super Bowl.
The Redskins can’t stay quiet for too long during an offseason (or non-playing season as some prefer), but they did not expect to get Norman and immediately upgrade a secondary that was looking no more than ordinary.
It came down to the greenbacks Norman thought he was worth and as it transpires he would have re-signed with the Panthers on a one year deal, but the longer deal and the larger sums being offered by Dan Snyder were piled too high to resist.
Not an interception monster Norman has only picked off 7 balls in 53 games. That is not a stat to be worried about as he is a specialist in removing receivers from games through pressing coverage and physical execution, resulting in less passes being thrown his way.
The Redskins have been weak in the secondary for a long long time. There has been no-one drafted or signed at cornerback to polish the boots of Hall of Fame enshrinee Darrel Green, with the possible exception of Deangelo Hall, a DB who is going to keep playing only as he has changed position to safety.
Norman will be a huge topic of conversation for many months before playing a real Redskins game. Two main reasons for this, firstly the so-called bad blood between him and Odell Beckham Jr the New York Giants wideout (who he will now play twice a year), and the big question if he is a product of a superstar packed defense and system or if he is an exceptional cornerback regardless of team philosophy?
Norman has age on his side, hunger (having lost in a Super Bowl to a cardboard cutout version of the now retired Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos), and a team that is ascending.
Redskins fans will have shrugged their shoulders when signing Greg Toler, wishing they would get someone like Eli Apple in the 2016 NFL draft. With Norman now signed the Redskins will be furiously re-evaluating their draft strategy and can look at other needs such as inside linebacker and defensive tackle.
The Cheers theme tune cites ‘taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot’.
Signing Josh Norman before the draft sure gives Coach Gruden a big break.