The Washington Commanders released veteran left guard Andrew Norwell on Monday, ending his short-lived tenure in burgundy and gold.
Norwell, 31, was brought in last offseason along with former Carolina Panthers teammate Trai Turner in a cost-cutting bid to retool the offensive line after Brandon Scherff’s free-agent departure (the team decided to let Scherff walk after failing to sign him long-term and tagging him twice).
Commanders Release Andrew Norwell
While Norwell started 16 games, he completely failed to provide any type of stability at the position. The team had to wait until he could finally pass a physical (elbow) before being able to let him go.
His release, anticipated for months, will save Washington $2.28 million against the salary cap but will also incur a $2.8 million dead money hit in the process. His contract tied him to the team until 2026, but he had three voidable years on the back end.
With Norwell gone, the focus will shift to who will step up during training camp and take the spot. 2020 fourth-round pick Saahdiq Charles and last year’s seventh-round pick Chris Paul are the top candidates.
Commanders Sign Top Rookies
The Commanders have officially signed rookies Emmanuel Forbes Jr. and Quan Martin to their rookie deals. The move comes at the same time as the team also placed safety Xavier Henderson on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP).
Emmanuel Forbes Jr., despite his lighter weight compared to other top corners, brings a wealth of athleticism to the team. He posted the fourth fastest 40 time (4.35), a 37.5-inch vertical, and a 10-foot-11 broad jump. His impressive metrics and standout performance for the Bulldogs led ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. to label Forbes as an underrated prospect in a deep talent pool.
“I’m a huge fan of Forbes, who is rail thin but really fast,” Kiper wrote in his latest mock draft. “He has gone up against some of college football’s best wideouts and consistently held his own.”
Forbes proved to be one of the best defensive backs in the SEC over the last three seasons; not only was he the highest-graded cornerback in the conference during the 2022 season (87.8), he allowed career lows in receptions (26), completion percentage (51%), yards per reception (9.3), and yards after the catch (95).
Quan Martin, a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection, adds size, versatility, and range to the Commanders secondary. Martin accumulated 225 tackles, a sack, and seven interceptions in five seasons at Illinois.
“Versatile cornerback/safety prospect with the size and physical talent to play nickel back or align as a deep safety,” wrote NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. “A buttery smooth hip swivel allows him to glide and transition effectively from his pedal.”
Martin’s 90.7 tackle grade was the best among all cornerbacks, leading Illinois in solo tackles (51) and ranking second on the team in pass breakups. His strong performance is complemented by impressive combine metrics, including a 4.46 40-yard draft, a 44-inch vertical, and an 11-foot-1 broad jump.