This week, for their "In-housekeeping" series, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey examine how Washington should approach the major questions related to players currently on the roster. First up: Brandon Scherff.
Scherff, who's fresh off an All-Pro season, is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. As fun as it is to imagine the difference-makers Washington could land next month, Scherff might be the most critical to keep, and he's seemingly eager to stick around, too.
Here's how JP and Pete see this situation.
It's time for Washington to pay up and it feels like both sides want a deal done. Ron Rivera made it clear that taking care of in-house free agents was a top priority this offseason, and that should mean a five-year deal for Scherff somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 million.
Yes, Scherff has dealt with injuries, but when he's on the field he's a great, nasty offensive lineman. Washington's first All-Pro player in more than two decades, Scherff was drafted by the Burgundy and Gold and is going to stay in the Burgundy and Gold.
Some will argue that's simply too much to pay for a guard, or any interior offensive lineman. The argument comes from a relatively simple place — the best pass rushers come off the edge, thus, pay up for elite tackles, not guards. But as NFL coaches have started to point out, as the quick passing game evolves, interior pressure is more impactful.
Therefore, pay the guy that can take on some of the best three-technique defensive linemen in the NFL.
While JP and I don't see eye-to-eye on onions — if you put any on his burgers or fajitas, he'll take them out and spike them like Wes Schweitzer; I, on the other hand, put onions on my onions — we align here.
The injuries remain concerning — Scherff hasn't played a full season for four consecutive years. However, he suited up for 13 out of 16 contests in 2020, his best total since 2017.
As he explained to the media a few months ago, his durability issues, along with lessons from consistent vets like Ryan Kerrigan and Morgan Moses, have taught him what he must do to ensure he’s more available. Hopefully, 2020 was the first step in that direction.
Beyond that, he's essentially a flawless lineman. According to PFF, he was one of just three guards in all of football last year to earn a grade of 80 or above as both a pass and a run blocker. Most on the interior excel in one area more than the other, but Scherff has decided he'd rather be a stud in both.
Lastly, Scherff just comes across as a prototypical Rivera player. The coach gravitates toward no-nonsense, team-first contributors, and Scherff is exactly that.
Continuity up front is one of the key ingredients toward building a successful NFL offense (onions, meanwhile, are not). That continuity is only possible if Scherff returns, and I believe he will. Washington, though, might need to update the nameplate on his jersey to $cherff considering the kind of money he's (rightfully) projected to receive.