Redskins pick up Jonathan Allen’s fifth-year option
By Ian Cummings
With the 2020 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Redskins can now spend more time focusing on other housekeeping aspects of roster building.
The Washington Redskins added eight new players to their squad over the weekend, bringing the total ever closer to 90. While there exists a need to fill out the roster to that number, or as close to it as feasibly possible, Ron Rivera’s staff also has a checklist pertaining to holdover players from the previous regime. Brandon Scherff’s long-term deal still has yet to be agreed upon, and two players from the 2017 NFL Draft need decisions made on their fifth-year options.
According to one local reporter, the Washington Redskins have in fact made a decision on one of those fifth-year options. According to Kevin Sheehan of ESPN 980, the Redskins intend to exercise the fifth-year option of defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, who was drafted No. 17 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. The move was later confirmed on the Redskins official site.
Allen, 25, has been a consistent starter for the team ever since he returned from a season-ending Lisfranc injury in 2018. Over the past two years, Allen has started 31 of a possible 32 games, logging 129 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 14.0 sacks over that time span. In 2019, he amassed 6.0 sacks on the interior, while serving as a defensive team captain.
2020 will be the last year of Allen’s rookie deal, so in a sense, this move was expected. But it speaks volumes about the first impression Allen made on Ron Rivera, both as a player on the field and as a leader off of it. Rivera clearly envisions Allen being in the long-term plans of his Redskins team, and this move is the first indication. Allen will receive a considerable pay increase in 2021, and the team will have more time, as well as a starting point from which to potentially work out a long-term deal.
Allen isn’t the only 2017 draft pick whom the Redskins need to assess. Linebacker Reuben Foster, a fellow Alabama product, also has a fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The decision on Foster is bound to be more complicated, however; he’s a linebacker with potential, on a team that needs security at the position, but he’s still recovering from a devastating non-contact knee injury, and he has yet to return to the field at full speed. Washington may opt to see how he fares in his return before making a long-term decision.