The Chicago Bears added a Super Bowl player to their roster in Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker. They were considered by many analysts to be in the running for another Super Bowl player to their roster, Josh Norman, the standout cornerback from the Carolina Panthers.
At corner, the Bears resigned Tracy Porter this offseason, and Kyle Fuller is still under contract. Picking up Norman would have unquestionably upgraded the position, moving the smaller Tracy Porter to nickel, and just like that, the Bears would have had three solid cornerbacks.
Definitely far from a terrible mix of guys if the Bears were to of picked up Norman.
That said, there were concerns: Does he fit Vic Fangio’s scheme? Would he be “all-in?”
We all know the Bears did not pick up Norman. The corner position arguably remains one of the weakest on defense. The Bears should look to add a cornerback in the draft.
They could pull the trigger on one of these four players with the eleventh pick: Vernon Hargreaves, Eli Apple, Mackensie Alexander or William Jackson.
Depending how the board falls in that first round, at least a couple of those four guys should be available. None of which would be a bad pick, as each fit what Ryan Pace and John Fox are looking for; players with a high ceiling, that come out of a winning program, and are guys that are going to commit to the Bears for the long term.
Norman made himself a household name during the 2015 season. Whether it be fighting with Odell Beckham Jr., or being a lockdown corner, he made a name for himself. As any good player wants, he desired the money to reflect how well he performed.
The all-pro got what we sought after as he signed a five-year, $75-million contract with Washington. $36.5 million of which is fully guaranteed over the next two years including a $15 million signing bonus and fully guaranteed base salaries of $5 million in 2016 and $16.5 million in 2017.
The Bears had the cap room to make a similar offer with $22 million left to spend. By 2018, Chicago has 13 players under contract, so yes, a long term deal would have “worked” for the Bears.
However, $15-$16 million a year for a guy that turns 29 in December? Frankly, that’s not worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a solid player and he’s in his prime, but, by the time he is 32 years old, is he going to be worth $15 million? For comparison purposes, Charles Tillman found his career spiraling down in 2013 at age 33 with a torn right tricep. It’s possible that Norman could begin his downfall before he turns 33.
Count Your Blessings
Josh Norman would have been an impulse buy for Pace if he would have signed with the Bears.
Pace has said multiple times that the team needs some good draft classes to become a year in year out competitor. Keeping his money out of free agency, for the most part, the Bears front office is sticking to their gut and going into the draft to address the cornerback position.
For five years, and $15 million (at the lowest) per year at age 28, I think it was a good choice to not get too deep with Norman. Pace is a good GM and has made Chicago a desirable place for free agents. However, football is a business and just because a place looks attractive doesn’t mean everything.
Norman was after the money and found it in Washington. Congrats to both he and the Redskins, but in two or three years the Bears will have a better cornerback corp than Washington will.
(Image Credit: 1045 “The Steam”)