After using the franchise tag on now-free agent guard Brandon Scherff last season, the Washington Football Team is “more interested” in signing the All-Pro lineman to a long-term deal rather than use the tag on him a second time, The Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala reported Sunday.
Scherff, 29, has started 78 games for Washington since being drafted fifth overall in 2015. He was named First-Team All-Pro last season, snapping a streak of more than two decades without a player being selected to the exclusive list. Though Scherff has struggled to stay healthy — missing 18 games over the last four seasons — the Iowa product has proven to be Washington’s most consistent offensive lineman when on the field.
Teams will be permitted to use their franchise tags beginning Tuesday with a deadline of March 9 to choose which player (if any) they want to tag. However, even if a player is tagged, teams are still allowed to work out a long-term deal until July 15. Scherff played the 2020 season on a $15.03 million tag and would be owed $18.04 million if Washington tags him again.
Both sides have expressed their interest in keeping Scherff in Washington. While it would be an expensive investment, Spotrac pegs Washington with the sixth-most 2021 cap space in the NFL at about $41.9 million. The highest-paid guard in the NFL is Philadelphia Eagles lineman Brandon Brooks, whose contract nets him $14.1 million per year.
By bringing Scherff back, Washington would return in 2021 with its entire offensive line from last season fully intact. Left tackle Cornelius Lucas has one year left on his deal, Morgan Moses and Wes Schweitzer each have two and center Chase Roullier signed a four-year contract in January.