Veteran left guard Andrew Norwell is staying in Jacksonville in 2021, though his contract is going to look a good bit different.
ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report on Monday that Norwell had agreed to restructure his contract, which SI's Albert Breer reported last week the Jaguars had approached the seven-year veteran about. According to Schefter, Norwell's restructure has turned his two remaining contract years into just one year left.
Norwell had two years and $25 million left in base salary from the five-year, $66.5 million deal he signed with the Jaguars in 2018. Now, Norwell has just one year left and the Jaguars have created cap flexibility for 2022.
Before the restructured deal, Norwell was set to have a base salary of $12 million and a cap hit of $15 million, according to Spotrac. In 2022 he would have had a base salary of $13 million and a cap hit of $16 million. Now, the Jaguars have Norwell off the books for the 2022 season.
In a way, this could be seen as a long-term savvy move by the Jaguars because it gives them a better chance to gain a compensatory draft pick if/when he signs with a new team. If the Jaguars were to cut Norwell next offseason and another team signed him, the Jaguars would have had to option to benefit from the compensatory pick formula.
According to Pro Football Focus, last year was Norwell's best season as a pass blocker in Jacksonville. He No. 25 among guards in that area in 2019, but went all the way up to No. 8 in 2020. Sports Info Solutions had Norwell down for two penalties and 12 blown blocks in 13 games, finishing with better efficiency rates than the year before.
Norwell started 13 games at left guard last season and has started 40-of-48 games since signing with the Jaguars in 2018. He played 11 games in 2018 and 16 in 2019.
"He’s one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached. He’s a guy that was the underdog when we got there at Ohio State. The offensive line at Ohio State was one of the worst in the Big 10, it became the best in the Big 10. He was a big part of it," Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said last week.
"I was not surprised to see him get a high free agency contract because he’s a grinder, he’s a worker, he’s a team guy, he’s a locker room guy. I see him being part of the Jaguars and I want him to be part of the Jaguars. For me personally, I love the guy because I know him better than most.”