Brandon Scherff will hit free agency once again after the 2020 NFL season.
While the Washington Redskins have expressed a desire to keep Brandon Scherff, it doesn’t appear that they will be signing him to a long-term extension this offseason.
Scherff is entering his fifth season with Washington. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is currently slated to play on a franchise tender for $15.03 million that will make him the highest-paid guard this season in terms of average annual value.
But as ESPN’s John Keim is reporting, the team is going to wait until after the season to sign him to a long-term deal.
"Washington will wait until after the season to try to sign right guard Brandon Scherff to an extension, according to multiple sources. The deadline to sign players on the franchise tag to an extension is July 15. There hasn’t been much movement toward a deal, so this comes as no surprise. Scherff has made three Pro Bowls, but has missed a combined 13 games the last two seasons with injuries."
As Keim explained, this isn’t a surprise. There hasn’t been movement toward a deal and Scherff does have a concerning injury history. By slapping him with the franchise tag, the team will retain flexibility heading into next offseason and won’t be married to Scherff on a long-term deal in case injury issues strike again. But if he does stay healthy, they should have the firepower needed to re-sign him.
Also, as NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay explains, the lack of ability to project what the 2021 NFL salary cap will look like may have factored into the team’s decision to let Scherff play on the franchise tag.
That’s completely sensible. While Washington should have plenty of cap space, they don’t want to eat up a chunk of it on a risky investment without knowing exactly how much space will be available. And with the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s impossible to know how much of a season will be played and whether or not fans will be able to attend games at all in 2020.
Beyond that, Ron Rivera may just want a chance to evaluate the team as a whole before signing any other players long-term. Scherff is clearly a favorite of the new coaching staff, but giving him a year to prove himself certainly isn’t a bad idea.
We’ll see what Scherff can do for Washington in 2020 and how that will impact his contract status for 2021. But for the time being, he’ll only be locked into a one-year deal for the upcoming season.