On April 22, 2016 as many people in the sports world know, the Washington Redskins signed all pro CB Josh Norman away from the Panthers, after they rescinded the franchise tag that was placed on him, making him an unrestricted free agent. Everyone who has been following sports, especially the NFL knows that since Dan Snyder became the owner of the Redskins, free agent signings to this magnitude have not worked out in the organizations favor. The most recent big free agent debacle would have to be Albert Haynesworth, who the Redskins signed to a $100 million contract over 7 years. This signing also is the biggest idiotic move on the part of the Redskins, because of two reasons. One is that even though at first it looked like they were getting someone to power that defensive line, it ended up being a big baby in a man’s body. The second reason is that at one point he refused to run drills or get into shape. Other notable big name busts the Redskins have signed are Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Jeremiah Trotter, etc.
Most of the players that the Redskins have signed in the past were way past their primes and on the verge of retiring. Haynesworth on the other hand, was only 28 when he was brought to DC, just like Norman. The difference between Haynesworth and Norman that I can see is Norman has better work ethic and is actually in his prime. Haynesworth was starting his downward slope from his prime. You could also say that he was somewhat just in it for the money, therefore not willing to perform at 100%. From what I have seen during Panther games on TV and heard about him through the media, he is very energetic and very passionate about the game of football. Some say he has an attitude problem, and that could be true, but he also has a team oriented attitude. Josh Norman wants to help whatever team he is on succeed.
Checking Twitter on the 22nd, while I was tracking the coverage of his visit with the management team for the Redskins, I was seeing people already thinking that Norman will suck with the Redskins and will not succeed at all. This bothers me, because how can you already assume that someone will fail with a certain team before they ever play a down for that team. Yes, the Skins have failed on a lot of big name free agency signings, but most of them were past their prime and could not play as well. Since the free agent busts began with the Skins, that organization has become the laughing stock of the league. What people do not take into consideration is that you cannot coach someone to be younger and quicker than they really are, or coach a player to be about the team and not himself.
I see the Josh Norman signing not as a signing that could be as disastrous as Haynesworths was, but instead I see it as a signaling of a new day for the defense of the Washington Redskins. Especially, the Skins secondary. These last few years I truly have seen Mr. Snyder coming into his own as an owner. When he first bought the Redskins, he would jump at any future hall of famer that was toward the end of his career, like Smith or Sanders. Mr. Snyder has learned his lesson when it comes to free agency. Since the Haynesworth signing he has not tried to sign a lot of the top tier names, but low tier guys that can come in and help the team.