Following an 11-year career spent entirely in the NFC East, Ryan Kerrigan is walking away. The longtime Washington pass rusher signed a ceremonial contract with the team Friday to announce his retirement.
Kerrigan, 33, will retire as Washington’s all-time sack leader. The former first-round pick collected 95.5 over the course of his 10-season run with the franchise. While Kerrigan did not add to his sack total with the Eagles last season, he played 16 games with the team after signing a one-year deal in May.
Chosen as part of a stacked 2011 draft, Kerrigan earned four Pro Bowl nods and finished with at least 7.5 sacks in each of his first eight seasons. Becoming one of the most durable players in modern NFL history, the Purdue product did not miss a game during that stretch was only sidelined for five during his career. The last came because of a COVID-19 contraction. Team success was fleeting during Kerrigan’s Washington run, but the 3-4 outside linebacker — a role he played for most of his career — remained one of the game’s more consistent edge rushers.
After trading down with the Jaguars in the ’11 draft, in order for Jacksonville to take Blaine Gabbert at No. 10 overall, Washington nabbed Kerrigan at 16. He broke into the team’s starting lineup immediately and did not play a game as a rotational sub until 2020, when the team’s current Chase Young–Montez Sweat D-end configuration formed. Kerrigan signed a five-year, $57.5MM extension seven years ago today and played out that deal. The Eagles gave him a one-year pact worth $1.425MM.
Illustrating how deep the the 2011 draft was for pass rushers, Kerrigan’s 95.5 sacks rank only sixth among that class. His 26 forced fumbles, however, are tied for second among 2011 draftees — matching Von Miller and J.J. Watt. Kerrigan’s five strips led the NFL in 2014. Kerrigan is unlikely to join Miller and Watt in the Hall of Fame, but he anchored the Washington rush for most of his career.
The team reduced his role upon drafting Young in 2020, but the elder edge defender broke Dexter Manley‘s franchise sacks record — though Manley’s 1981 rookie year came before sacks became an official stat — by recording 5.5 that year. The 2020 Washington D-line housed five first-round picks, and it played a major role in helping the team make a surprise playoff run. Kerrigan also added 1.5 sacks in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the Buccaneers in January.