For the first time in his career Ryan Kerrigan will hit free agency, and it sounds like Washington's all-time sack leader is prepared to leave the organization.
"I definitely feel like I still have a lot of ball in me, a lot of good productive years ahead of me," Kerrigan said Sunday morning.
This year his snaps and usage on defense fell dramatically as Washington turned to Montez Sweat and Chase Young as their defensive ends. Those two are young and immensely talented, and Kerrigan recognizes what that means for his future.
Still, he performed well in pass-rushing situations despite a limited workload, finishing the year with 5.5 sacks.
"I definitely want to be a starter, I think any player would say that," Kerrigan said. "I don't think anybody wants to settle for being a role player."
A four-time Pro Bowler and the face of the Washington franchise for a decade, Kerrigan said he has to be "open-minded" when it comes to free agency and consider all of his options.
For the first time, it seems quite obvious that Kerrigan will play in a different uniform than Burgundy and Gold, and that's going to be tough for the player and for many fans. Late Saturday night, after Washington's roller coaster Wild Card loss to Tampa, Kerrigan walked around FedEx Field reflecting on his experiences over a decade of playing home games in the stadium.
Asked about that moment, Kerrigan said he wanted to take in all the memories of 10 years with one team.
"I was glad I was able to reflect and feel those emotions," Kerrigan said. "It's pretty damn cool."