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NFC coach explains why Brandon Scherff is so important for Washington

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Brandon Scherff gave the Washington Football Team its first All-Pro performance in more than two decades during the 2020 season, and in about a month, he's going to get very handsomely rewarded for his efforts. 

A free agent when the new league year opens in March, Scherff has publicly stated his desire to stay in Washington.

A long-term deal seems like a very serious possibility, as head coach Ron Rivera hinted in a 106.7 the Fan radio interview that "taking care of our own" free agents was imperative this offseason. 

Like everything in the universe, the question becomes how much Washington needs to pay Scherff to get a long-term deal done. 

The right guard played the 2020 season on the franchise tag, which guaranteed $15 million. And let's be real - that will be the price tag to begin long-term negotiations.

There are some in NFL circles that argue that's simply too much to pay for a guard, or any interior offensive linemen. The argument comes from a relatively simple place - the best pass rushers come off the edge, thus, pay up for elite tackles, but not for guards.

Here's the flip side, as explained by one NFC assistant coach via a text exchange:

The right side guard is important because he is the one who usually blocks the three-technique, usually the best interior pass rusher...and the interior pass rush can kill the quick pass game.

Considering that, and considering the increased emphasis on quick passing across the NFL, guards value has increased. 

Around the league, guards have begun to get paid.

Just in the NFC East, Brandon Brooks of the Eagles and Zach Martin of the Cowboys are each making more than $14 million per season. Both are right guards. Even the Giants are paying right guard Kevin Zeitler $12 million per season. 

 

There's also this - Scherff is good. Good players cost more. And Washington already paid him $15 million in 2020 and had more than $30 million left under the salary cap. 

Signing Scherff won't kill Washington's chances of an aggressive offseason in free agency, especially if the football team makes the necessary move to remove or restructure Alex Smith's $24 million cap hit for the 2021 season.

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Lastly, if guards aren't worth paying, then how are they expected to compete with the interior defensive lineman across the line of scrimmage. Those guys get paaaaaaaid. 

Aaron Donald is the best in the sport, and makes more than $22 million per season. Deforest Buckner makes $21 million. Chris Jones makes $20 million. There are seven other defensive linemen making more than $15 million.

The best defensive linemen collect a ton of cash. The best offensive linemen do the same. 

Washington knows it. Scherff knows it. And fans should hope a deal gets done.