The Panthers cut ties with Josh Norman this offseason because general manager Dave Gettleman didn't think the Pro Bowl cornerback was worth the $16 million a year he was reportedly seeking on his next contract. And that's certainly Gettleman's right.
Unfortunately, the Panthers' secondary has been a hot mess without Norman, who quickly signed a five-year, $75 million deal with the Redskins. The nadir came Sunday when cardboard cutouts masquerading as Panthers' defenders watched on as the Falcons' Julio Jones caught 12 passes for 300 yards and a score in Atlanta's 48-33 beatdown of the defending NFC champs.
Meanwhile, Norman, who has played like one of the league's best cornerbacks through the first month of the season, recorded his first interception of 2016 in the Redskins' victory over the Browns on Sunday. Afterwards, he was asked about what Jones perpetrated on the Panthers.
Josh Norman on Julio Jones 300 yard day: "I'm just gonna sip my tea on that one" #RedskinsTalk— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayCSN) October 2, 2016
Sipping tea might be the best strategy, because while Norman was very good last season, he didn't exactly shut down Jones. In the Week 16 meeting -- which turned out to be the Panthers' only loss in the regular season -- Jones finished with nine catches for 178 yards and a touchdown. According to Pro Football Focus, with Norman in coverage, Jones was targeted six times and caught five passes for 80 yards, including 25 yards after the catch.
That said, Norman was lights out against the Falcons and Jones two weeks earlier, allowing just four receptions for 33 yards in the 38-0 whitewashing.
If you're keeping track, the Falcons are now 3-1, the Redskins are 2-2 and the Panthers are 1-3.