The 49ers are just one week away from kicking off their 2021 season, but they may have just found one of their top cornerbacks for the new year. As FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported Sunday, San Francisco has signed former All-Pro cover man Josh Norman to a one-year contract. The 33-year-old free agent, who spent 2020 with the Bills, can earn up to $2.5 million on the deal, per NFL Network, and instantly becomes the most accomplished veteran in the Niners' cornerback room.
Norman is by no means a lock to start immediately in the 49ers' secondary, which welcomed back Jason Verrett on an incentive-laden $5.5 million deal this offseason. But with Verrett coming off a foot injury and owning an extensive medical history anyway, Norman has a feasible path to early playing time in San Francisco. After parting ways with both Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon in free agency, the Niners mostly invested in familiar faces at the position, with their most notable addition being third-round draft pick Ambry Thomas.
Norman, who hasn't played a full season in three years, had other suitors before signing with the 49ers, NFL Network reported. Originally a fifth-round pick of the Panthers in 2012, he spent the first four seasons of his career in Carolina, emerging as a Pro Bowler with a four-interception breakout in 2015. After cashing in on a $75M deal in Washington the following year, Norman spent another four seasons in D.C., coming on and off the bench in his final year there. As a reserve with Buffalo in 2020, he managed just nine appearances due to hamstring and COVID-19 issues, but was involved in multiple takeaways during the team's AFC title bid.
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