The Buffalo Bills brought in a familiar face for Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane as they signed veteran cornerback and former Carolina Panther, Josh Norman. After a stellar career in Carolina, Norman received a massive 5-year $75 million contract from Washington. After four underwhelming years in the nations capital, Washington decided to part ways with Norman.
Now a member of the Buffalo Bills, Norman looks to compete with Levi Wallace for the starting role opposite Tre’Davious White. Despite being on the decline, the Bills may have the abilities to get the most out of Norman. This week’s Thursday Thought: Buffalo’s superior players and scheme will elevate Josh Norman’s play.
In order to understand why Josh Norman will work in Buffalo, we need to go back and understand why he didn’t work in Washington. There were many reason why Norman’s career took a nosedive after he left the Carolina Panthers.
To start, the scheme was a horrible fit for Norman. He is primarily a zone coverage corner who was being forced to play man-to-man coverage. The coaching staff was playing Norman against his weaknesses. Essentially, they were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. This won’t be the case with Buffalo. Not only do the Bills mostly play zone coverage, but also Sean McDermott is known for hiding players’ weaknesses and putting a player in a position to succeed.
Another reason for Norman’s struggles in Washington was the lack of talent surrounding him. Norman was on a defense that had very little talent in the secondary, which lead to breakdowns in coverage and a lot of pressure put on Norman. Once again, this will be a lot different with the Bills. Across the field from Norman is an all-pro and shutdown cornerback in White. On the back end is one of the best safety duos in the NFL in Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer. Being surrounded by top NFL talent will elevate the play of Norman and hopefully give him his confidence and swagger back.
However, the most important part of this signing is that if it doesn’t work out, the Bills signed Norman to just a one-year $6 million deal that can reach up to $8 million in incentives. It’s a deal that cost the Bills not too much and one that isn’t too hard to get out of.
It’s a low risk deal that has a high reward possibility. At the very least, Norman will be a veteran presence and competition for a young roster. Norman has a chance to regain some of the magic that made him one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL just four seasons ago.