Veteran cornerback Josh Norman has signed with the Buffalo Bills once more. Buffalo Bills defensive line coach/assistant head coach Eric Washington announced Norman’s addition during his media availability, which the Bills as an organization made official on Tuesday afternoon.
Settle down, everyone. Norman simply has familiarity in Buffalo’s defensive scheme. As Bills beat and sideline reporter Sal Capaccio noted on The Schopp & The Bulldog show on WGR 550 AM Monday afternoon, Norman represents the type of player we can and should expect Buffalo to sign at this stage. Head coach wants players who with scheme familiarity, not who who need to be brought up to speed for several weeks. Norman, who’s currently 35, represents that type of player perhaps more than anyone available to sign at this point.
The Bills lack even adequate reinforcements at cornerback following the season-ending Achillies injury to Tre’Davious White, second-year cornerback Kaiir Elam’s major on-field regression, and now a shoulder injury to Elam’s draft mate, Christian Benford. Near the end of the team’s Week 5 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, it practice-squad call-up cornerback, Ja’Marcus Ingram was taking starter snaps in place of Elam. McDermott clearly wants additional options. Whether Norman represents a player who can contribute on the field or provide leadership and coaching to the rest of the cornerbacks during the week, this signing makes sense. Expecting Norman to be the player he was earlier in his career — a 137-game regular-season tenure in which he’s started for four teams, making 497 tackles and 16 interceptions, having added an All-Pro accolade in 2015 — is unwise. But at this stage, Buffalo needs to add players to the group, and Norman was both available and healthy.
Perhaps the bigger concern at this point is to what degree Benford is injured, and whether Norman’s addition is related to or influenced by that situation.
One final thought before you bemoan this roster move: The photo of cornerback Josh Norman attached to this article was from his first tenure with the Buffalo Bills, when he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.