The Washington Football Team’s all-time sack leader hasn’t yet signed with a team, but the veteran’s decision may be coming soon.
In eight of the past ten seasons, Washington Football Team edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan started all sixteen games for his team. Kerrigan made the Pro Bowl in four of those seasons, and also broke the double-digit sack mark four times.
All told, Kerrigan became one of the greatest defenders in Washington Football Team history in his time in D.C. After being selected with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Kerrigan went on to amass 95.5 sacks in ten seasons, breaking the all-time franchise record for sacks in a career.
It was a stellar run for Kerrigan in the nation’s capital, but it’s steadily been nearing its end over the past year. Washington’s selection of Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft all but solidified Kerrigan’s eventual departure.
Kerrigan was a valuable rotational lineman behind Young and Montez Sweat, but now, the long-time starter will likely look for a more involved opportunity somewhere else. According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Cincinnati Bengals are expected to host Kerrigan on a visit later today. In Cincinnati, Kerrigan would likely have a shot to start opposite from fellow free agent addition Trey Hendrickson.
Rapoport did make a point of saying that the Washington Football Team still has interest in having Kerrigan return, to solidify the team’s depth on the edge. However, it will likely boil down to opportunity more than money for Kerrigan. The writing on the wall this past season suggested that Kerrigan preferred to have a starting role, and would seek one out in free agency. Cincinnati provides that, while Washington would likely play him in a similar role as last year.
Kerrigan is just 4.5 sacks away from the century mark, and in Cincinnati, the 32-year old would have a better chance of reaching that threshold. Kerrigan would also strengthen the Bengals’ depth on the edge, and allow them to use former third-round pick Sam Hubbard as more of a rotational lineman.
If Washington is unable to retain Kerrigan, they’ll feasibly be in the market for more EDGE depth behind Young and Sweat. James Smith-Williams and Casey Toohill are both high-upside players in the wings, but adding an experienced veteran to tie the unit together would be a smart move, regardless.