The Washington Redskins are reportedly expected to use the franchise tag on offensive lineman Brandon Scherff.
One of the key members of the Washington Redskins offensive line is set to hit free agency this offseason. Brandon Scherff, a five-year starter for the Redskins at right guard, will see his contract expire when the NFL’s new league year begins in mid-March.
But it doesn’t look like he’s actually going to reach that point.
According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, the Redskins are expected to slap Scherff with the franchise tag this offseason. Laine posted the news on Twitter earlier today.
This is a sensible decision. If the Redskins and Scherff can’t agree on a long-term deal, keeping him around via the franchise tag is the next best thing. The value of $16.1 million may not be ideal, per OverTheCap.com, but since it would be a one-year deal and the Redskins have the cap space needed to pay it, it might be their best course of action.
When healthy, Scherff is one of the best guards in the league. That said, he has struggled to stay healthy over the course of the past couple of seasons. Scherff missed eight games in 2018 after suffering a torn pectoral and looked to be a bit weakened by his recovery from that in 2019. He dealt with a number of nagging injuries during the season including an elbow injury and missed five games.
Because of his lack of availability over the course of the past two seasons, paying Scherff a long-term deal would’ve carried some risk. But by tagging him, they can see if he can stay healthy for a full season for the first time since 2016. And if he does, then they can explore signing him to a lucrative long-term extension. If he doesn’t, they can either let him go or sign him to a more incentive-heavy deal.
Scherff’s presence in 2020 will help solidify the right side of the line and it will ensure that the team can focus on 1) adding some tackles to the mix to replace Trent Williams and compete with Morgan Moses and 2) re-signing Ereck Flowers. And at the very least, keeping one of their best blockers around to help protect Dwayne Haskins is a more than sensible move.
We’ll see how this decision ends up working for the ‘Skins. But on its surface, it’s a good one as there’s no long-term risk and while the value isn’t great, the team has the cap space needed to pay Scherff this amount in 2020 and still get the upgrades they need elsewhere to improve.