Champ Bailey: Josh Norman is 'ridiculous', deserves top CB money

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman is having an incredible season. He was good last year, but he's taken another step and become recognized as one of the top corners in the game in 2015.

Let's try to put just how good he's been in perspective a bit: According to tracking done by Pro Football Focus, Norman has allowed completions on only 21 of 46 throws intended for the receivers he's covered this season. Those passes have accumulated only 159 yards and one touchdown, while he's intercepted four of them. It all adds up to a passer rating of 25.5 on the year, far and away the best mark of any corner that has played at least 25 percent of his team's snaps.

Norman's not shutting down weak receivers, either. He's doing great things against the opposing team's top threats. In Week 1, he held Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to a combined two catches for 14 yards on five targets. In Week 2, DeAndre Hopkins managed only two grabs for 24 yards on seven targets. Brandin Cooks got the Norman treatment in Week 3, catching just two balls for 23 yards on three targets. Vincent Jackson took a visit to Lake Norman in Week 4, coming away with two catches for 31 yards on six targets. The Seahawks and Eagles threw at him four times combined in Weeks 6 and 7, then T.Y. Hilton caught only one of three passes intended for him when covered by Norman for 15 yards in Week 8.

Those are not untalented players, but Norman has turned them all into lake trout. His peformance has gained Norman a new fan: ex-cornerback Champ Bailey, one of the best to ever lace up spikes at the position.

"His instincts are ridiculous," Bailey said, per Black and Blue Review. "You don't play Cover 3 and then jump routes like he does. You don't just do that without film study or without confidence. And you see deep balls where he looks like he's beat, but that's all part of his setup. People don't understand it, but this guy is long and athletic, and he knows it, so he wants you to throw the ball."

Bailey also said Norman is deserving of a big pay raise. "No doubt," Bailey said. "If it just started this year, then I'd be reluctant, I'd say show me more. But this goes back into last year.

"To have a whole offseason to prepare and come out and match up against the best guys and hold your own and still be rated the top corner in the game? No doubt, he should be paid as the top corner in the game."

"Top corner in the game" money is a whole lot, for what it's worth. Darrelle Revis' five-year deal contains $39 million in guarantees and an average salary of just over $14 million per season. Norman's currently on a four-year contract that pays $2.3 million total. He has the 120th-highest cap hit among defensive backs for the 2015 season. He's definitely going to get a well-deserved raise this coming offseason; the only question is how much.

Lake Norman has not been kind to opposing receivers this year. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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