Josh Norman isn't Deion Sanders or Albert Haynesworth 2.0

The Washington Redskins haven’t spent wildly for free agents for most of the last five years and have only made the occasional splash when it comes to big names. But they made a huge one Friday, signing suddenly available free-agent corner Josh Norman.

Yes, it harkened back to earlier days when the Redskins pursued big names with abandon. But Norman is coming off his best season and remains in his prime – two things you couldn’t say about some failed Redskins signings of the past. And, believe it or not, some bigger signings have panned out. Here’s a look at some big free-agent signings by Washington in the Dan Snyder era (some of them compare much more to Norman because of the players' stature when signing):

Deion Sanders (2000)

The contract: Seven years, $55 million.

How it compares: It was a big splash with the Redskins coming off an NFC East title, but Norman is 28 years old and still in his prime. Sanders was Prime Time, but past his prime.

What happened: Sanders was fun to cover, but his impact was minimal. He lasted one season (costing $8 million) and was cut because he did not want to play for coach Marty Schottenheimer.

Bruce Smith (2000)

The contract: Five years, $23 million.

How it compares: Another big-name signing, but like Sanders Smith’s best days were spent elsewhere -- he played 15 seasons in Buffalo before signing with Washington. Again, Norman has a couple more seasons in his prime.

What happened: Smith’s tenure was as much about his pursuit of the NFL’s sack record as anything. He had 10 sacks in his first season with Washington. Smith lasted last four seasons and finished with 29 sacks in Washington.

Jeremiah Trotter (2002)

What he received: Seven years, $36 million.

How it compares: Trotter was an All-Pro in the two years before signing with Washington so he was considered one of the best at his position.

What happened: Not a whole lot. The Redskins used Trotter differently than he had been in Philadelphia. They released Trotter after his second season and he re-signed with Philadelphia, where he made two more Pro Bowls.

Adam Archuleta (2006)

What he received: Six years, $30 million. At the time he became the NFL’s highest paid safety.

How it compares: Archuleta was considered a solid safety, but the Redskins certainly overpaid for him.

What happened: Archuleta was a bad fit from the start and lasted only one season in Washington. He was benched and ended up making only seven starts. The Redskins cut Archuleta after one season, taking a $9 million cap hit over two years. Archuleta lasted one more season before exiting the NFL.

London Fletcher (2007)

What he received: Five years, $25 million.

What happened: Fletcher instantly became a team leader and earned four Pro Bowl berths playing for the Redskins. He was a defensive leader who was adept at calling signals and anticipating what plays were about to be run.

In comparison: Fletcher wasn’t as high-profile a signing, but he was a solid one. While he was considered a good linebacker, he had not yet made the Pro Bowl and therefore wasn’t among the top four or so at his position.

DeAngelo Hall (2008)

What he received: Six years, $54 million, $22 million guaranteed and $30 million in the first three seasons.

How it compares: Hall was surprised to be on the open market as well, having been released by Oakland in the middle of the season. He had made two Pro Bowls with Atlanta.

What happened: Hall has matured into a team leader. He made the Pro Bowl after the 2010 season, his third trip but first and only with Washington. He’s been a solid player in Washington, but his days as a corner are over. At 32, and coming off multiple leg injuries, he was moved to safety midway through last season.

Albert Haynesworth (2009)

What he received: Seven years, $100 million, $41 million guaranteed.

How it compares: Haynesworth was coming off two All-Pro nods. So he was clearly considered one of the NFL’s best defensive players, much like Norman. But Haynesworth also arrived with red flags, as some in the league said he only played well in contract years.

What happened: Haynesworth wasn’t pleased with how Washington used him and was upset when they switched to a 3-4 in his second season. He struggled to pass Mike Shanahan’s conditioning test and was traded before the following season.

Pierre Garcon (2012)

What he received: Five years, $42.5 million.

How it compares: A very good signing, but he did not arrive with the fanfare or reputation of Norman.

What happened: Garcon will play all five years of his contract, which doesn’t always happen. But he’s a productive receiver whom the coaches like because of his toughness. Garcon has caught 297 passes, including 18 for touchdowns, with the Redskins. He’s in the last year of his contract.

DeSean Jackson (2014)

What he received: Three years, $24 million.

How it compares: Like Jackson, Norman was a surprise pickup. Philadelphia cut Jackson after free agency began; Carolina rescinded the franchise tag it had placed on Norman.

What happened: Jackson has been exactly as advertised -- a big-play guy who does his own thing. He’s entering the last year of his deal, but the Redskins definitely like what he’s added and there’s a chance he’ll be re-signed.