Brandon Scherff

NFC East Notes: Maddox, Cowboys, Redskins

Avonte Maddox was released from a Green Bay-area hospital with movement in all of his extremities. The Eagles cornerback was discharged and is back in Philadelphia with his teammates, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Maddox and safety Andrew Sendejo collided during a scary fourth-quarter sequence Thursday night, requiring the second-year cornerback to be stretchered off the field. Maddox has been diagnosed with a concussion and a neck injury, the Eagles announced. No return timetable has surfaced, but the Eagles regular will undergo additional testing.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Previously ruled out for Week 4, Michael Gallup may need a few more weeks to fully recover from the arthroscopic surgery he recently underwent. The Cowboys wide receiver has experienced swelling post-surgery, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Gallup now appears unlikely to play in Week 5 against the Packers, per Hill. The second-year wideout missed Dallas’ Week 3 game.
  • Xavier Woods has, however, recovered from his injury and will be in uniform Sunday night in New Orleans. One of the Cowboys’ two starting safeties missed Week 3 due to a high ankle sprain. It is not certain Woods will reclaim his starting job immediately, with the third-year defender having not been told if he or spot starter Darian Thompson will trot out with the Cowboys’ first-stringers Sunday, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com.
  • The Redskins will have two key game-time decisions in their offensive lineup Sunday against the Giants. The hamstring injury Terry McLaurin suffered in practice this week has the emerging standout questionable to face the Giants. He joins Brandon Scherff in that regard. The Redskins have ruled out Jordan Reed for a fourth straight game due to a concussion. Jay Gruden, however, does expect Washington’s longtime starting tight end to be back this season.
  • While Golden Tate‘s return will boost the Giants’ receiving corps in Week 5, the team endured another receiver setback this week. Big Blue placed Russell Shepard on IR.

Extra Points: Falcons, Browns, Carson

Some assorted notes as we wrap up this Monday night:

  • The Falcons will audition safeties on Tuesday in the wake of Keanu Neal‘s season-ending injury, head coach Dan Quinn announced. Neal suffered a torn Achilles during Sunday’s loss, and the team turned to Kemal Ishmael for the rest of the game. While Quinn didn’t disclose any names, Eric Berry, George Iloka, and T.J. McDonald are among the top free agents at the position.
  • The 1-2 Browns currently rank 26th in the league with 16.3 points per game, but head coach Freddie Kitchens isn’t ready to hand over play-calling duties. Kitchens made it clear to reporters that he’ll continue to call plays this weekend against the Ravens. “You can write that if you want to, but that’s not even feasible,’’ Kitchens said (via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com). “That’s not being considered. No, it’s not…it’s not going to happen.” As Cabot writes, Kitchens “dismissed the notion that serving the dual roles of head coach and playcaller are too much for him,” and he scoffed at the suggestion that offensive coordinator Todd Monken could handle the duties.
  • JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington believes that Redskins offensive guard Brandon Scherff is likely heading towards free agency. Finlay writes that the front office never made an enticing offer to the 27-year-old, and despite Scherff’s Pro Bowl pedigree, the organization is wary of paying him more than $13MM per season. On the flip side, Finlay says the organization could always use the franchise tag on the lineman if they want to retain his services.
  • Seahawks running back Chris Carson has three fumbles through three games, but the team will continue to rely on the 25-year-old. Head coach Pete Carroll told Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree that the team will play the back as he works through his case of the yips. “Because we do believe in him, we’re going to continue to show him that,” Carroll said (via PFT’s Charean Williams). “He’s a terrific football player, and we want to make sure and maintain that level of play from him, so we’ll work at it and work with him on it.” Carson has compiled 159 rushing yards and one touchdown on 45 carries this season.

NFC East Rumors: Redskins, Eagles, Scherff

It was reported in February the Redskins and guard Brandon Scherff were discussing an extension but no news had trickled out since then. Scherff, however, confirmed earlier this week that talks were ongoing, NBC Sports’ JP Finlay writes.

“We’ve been talking, but I’m not really worried about that,” Scherff said. “I’m here for another year, so that’s all I’m worried about right now. Everything will take care of itself.”

Signed through 2019 via his fifth-year option, Scherff is set to make $12.5MM this season, but an extension could very well help lower Washington’s cap number heading into the season. An extension could see Scherff paid like Zack Martin and Andrew Norwell, who recently became the first guards to sign for $13MM-plus per year.

The fifth-overall pick in 2015, Scherff has justified the high-draft slot by earning two Pro Bowls in his first four seasons in the league. Though durable in his first three seasons, playing all but two possible games, the Iowa product suffered a torn pectoral in Week 8 of 2018 and was lost for the season.

Here’s more from around the NFC East:

  • Sticking with the Redskins, safety Montae Nicholson skipped the early sessions of the team’s OTAs, NBC Sports’ Peter Hailey writes. Though he showed up later, the safety’s absence turned some heads and coach Jay Gruden reportedly seemed annoyed by the situation. Nicholson is in a batter for the starting safety spot opposite the newly signed Landon Collins.
  • Though the Eagles added Cody Kessler and rookie Clayton Thorson, Nate Sudfeld is still expected to fill the No. 2 quarterback role, NBC Sports’ Andrew Kulp writes. Early in the offseason, Philadelphia gave Sudfeld a second-round tender as an RFA, which should indicate that the backup gig is his to lose despite the additions.
  • Remaining with the Eagles, it appears Jordan Mailata is ahead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai on the depth chart at tackle, NBC Sports’ Reuben Frank writes. Expected to enter 2019 as the team’s top backup tackle option, Mailata was thrown for a loop when the team took Andre Dillard in the first round. The former rugby player, however, is penciled in as the No. 2 at right tackle and Vaitai, a starter at left tackle in the Super Bowl just over a year ago, is now hoping to carve out a role at guard.

East Rumors: Ansah, Bills, Scherff, Cowboys

The Bills do not appear ready to concede they are losing the Ziggy Ansah race. It is unclear what terms have been exchanged between Ansah and the teams pursuing him, but Brandon Beane does not believe the Seahawks are the favorites to land the defensive end.

We’re still in talks with him and his agent,” Beane said during an interview with 1270 The Fan (via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, on Twitter). “Everything has been very good. All I’ll say about reports (regarding Seattle is emerging as favorite) is I don’t buy into that garbage, especially when I consider where some of the sourcing comes from.”

While the Seahawks have a more immediate need for edge rushers, the Bills recently declined perpetual trade candidate Shaq Lawson‘s fifth-year option and have Jerry Hughes in a contract year. Ansah visited the Bills in March, but the rehabbing lineman was not expected to sign until at least April. It appears the finish line is near for the soon-to-be 30-year-old sack artist’s decision.

Here is the latest news coming out of the Eastern divisions:

  • A torn pectoral muscle ended Brandon Scherff‘s fourth season, but there do not appear to be any complications in his return. Scherff expects to be ready for Redskins training camp. The fifth-year guard said (via Redskins.com) he was at around 90 percent when the Redskins started their offseason program late last month. In February, we heard Washington and its top guard began discussing an extension. But nothing has emerged on that front since. Scherff is entering his fifth-year option season.
  • Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Cowboys have a host of extension candidates. While Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper have emerged as the clubhouse leaders to be signed first, Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones included Ezekiel Elliott in that conversation. Jones called Elliott “every bit as important,” per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). It still looks like Elliott, under contract through 2020, will take a backseat to Cooper and Prescott for the time being. The Cowboys have a history of overworking running backs as their rookie deals wind down, as DeMarco Murray‘s final Dallas season showed, but Jones is saying the right things regarding the team wanting Elliott in the fold long-term.
  • Jones also mentioned Jaylon Smith, La’el Collins and Byron Jones as players the team would like to address. “I feel very good that we’re going to strategically work through getting guys like Dak and Amari and Zeke done. And I think we can still do others,” Jones said (via Machota, on Twitter). Each is going into a contract year, with Collins having already signed two NFL deals despite entering the league at the same time as Cooper and Jones. But it will be difficult for the Cowboys to retain all three members of this section of their extension queue, given how much Prescott, Cooper and Elliott will cost.
  • The Bills reshuffled their scouting department recently. Former Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey, in his fourth year in Buffalo, is now a senior national scout with the Bills. Buffalo also hired A.J. Highsmith and Mike Szabo as area scouts. A.J. Highsmith, a 49ers staffer over the past five years, is the son of Browns executive Alonzo Highsmith. The Bills also announced Asil Mulbah received a promotion, becoming a pro scout, and that R.J. Webb is now on board as a scouting assistant.

Redskins In Talks With Peterson, Scherff

Two key Redskins players, at different points in their respective careers, have engaged in discussions with the team about new deals.

Adrian Peterson has participated in preliminary talks with the Redskins, John Keim of ESPN.com notes, adding Brandon Scherff — under contract via fifth-year option in 2019 — has been in discussions with Washington about his next contract.

Peterson has said on multiple occasions he would like to return to the Redskins. The future Hall of Famer was a free agent throughout the 2018 offseason. Derrius Guice‘s injury led Peterson to Washington, and he responded with his eighth 1,000-yard rushing season. He also played all 16 games for just the second time in the past six seasons, the other being when he won the 2015 rushing title.

Guice, though, is expected to be healthy for the 2019 season. The Redskins also have passing-down back Chris Thompson under contract. Peterson’s skill set would seemingly overlap with Guice’s, but the soon-to-be 34-year-old back is obviously the more proven NFL runner and could be used in a timeshare with the LSU alum.

Scherff’s salary will spike from $6.8MM to $12.5MM this season. An extension would help the Redskins lower that cap number by a bit and help a team that will carry Alex Smith‘s contract in addition to a potential extra veteran starter-level salary, perhaps similar to the Dolphins’ 2017 Ryan TannehillJay Cutler setup.

It’s also possible the Redskins do not look to the veteran market to fill in for Smith. Washington is “looking hard” at quarterback prospects and continues to believe in Colt McCoy, Keim adds, pointing out a cheaper bridge-type option may be the better bet for Washington than a veteran starter.

An upper-echelon guard since coming into the league, Scherff can be expected to command a deal in the neighborhood of the highest-paid guards in the NFL. Zack Martin and Andrew Norwell became the NFL’s first guards to sign for $13MM-plus per year. Washington, though, already has Trent Williams and Morgan Moses signed to high-end deals and holds barely $20MM in cap space. Navigating toward a Scherff extension won’t be easy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Lose Scherff, Lauvao, Richardson

The Redskins suffered a major blow this week. In addition to losing 38-14 to the Falcons, the Redskins are also down three key players. Guard Brandon Scherff (torn pectoral), guard Shawn Lauvao (torn ACL), and WR Paul Richardson Jr. (AC joint) will all undergo surgery, ruling them out for the remainder of the season.

Losing Scherff and Lauvao is particularly tough as the club is already without tackle Trent Williams as he rehabs from a thumb injury. As they fight to keep their place atop the NFC East, the Redskins will have to move forward without 60% of their starting line.

Scherff, the former No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft, earned Pro Bowl nods in each of the last two seasons. He’s continued his strong play into 2018 and is a big reason for Adrian Peterson‘s surprising resurgence in D.C. Behind the Redskins’ offensive line, Peterson has averaged 4.4 yards per game, topped 100 yards in two games, and flirted with the century mark a couple of other times. But, behind a depleted front five on Sunday, Peterson had just 17 yards off of nine carries.

At the midway point of the season, Scherff ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 ranked guard in the NFL. Lauvao, who mans the opposite side, is near the back of the Top 60.

The Redskins gave Richardson a five-year, $40MM deal in the offseason to defect from the Seahawks, but shoulder trouble has dogged him as of late. The 26-year-old receiver flashed early in the year, but has been held to just four catches over the past two games. His first year in D.C. will end with just 20 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns in seven games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Redskins, Scherff, Ajayi, Saints

With Zack Martin recently signing a six-year, $84MM contract ($40MM guaranteed) with the Cowboys, Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post says Redskins guard Brandon Scherff is line for a big extension. The lineman has already earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods during his two seasons in the NFL, and he was rated as one of the best guards in the league per Pro Football Focus. Furthermore, with the organization looking to protect their investment in quarterback Alex Smith, it only makes sense to lock in their offensive line.

Fortunately for Scherff, it sounds like the team is more than willing to keep him around.

“His work ethic is off the charts,” said offensive line coach Bill Callahan. “He’s a guy that continually challenges you as a coach and every day wants to get better, wants to know specifically what he needs to work on to improve. We go over that list continually.

“He’s a guy that you just love to coach because you tell him one time and he gets it and he’s got it. You can do a lot of different things with him because he has that type of versatility and that type of adaptability as well.”

Scherff is set to earn $705K in 2018, but that will be bumped to $12.525MM in 2019 when the Redskins presumably pick up his fifth-year option.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Jay Ajayi is expected to sit atop the Eagles depth chart next season, but Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll have have 20-plus carries per game. Rather, the writer expects Ajayi to collect less than 200 total carries on the season, especially when you consider the team’s depth at the position and Ajayi’s persistent knee issues. Acquired in a trade with the Dolphins midseason, the running back ultimately appeared in seven games (one start) for the Eagles in 2017, compiling 408 rushing yards and one score on 70 carries. He also collected 42 carries in the playoffs, including a nine-carry, 57-yard performance in the Super Bowl.
  • After being released by the Panthers in February, safety Kurt Coleman quickly signed a three-year deal with the Saints that contained more than $6MM in guaranteed money. It sounds like the organization had high hopes when they signed the defensive back to the contract, as Larry Holder of NOLA.com says Coleman could end up replacing Vonn Bell in the starting lineup. The 30-year-old played in 12 games for Carolina last season, compiling 76 tackles and three passes defended. On the flip side, Bell, 23, was plenty productive last year, finishing with 83 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
  • We learned yesterday that Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham is facing a one-game suspension.

Redskins Pick Up Brandon Scherff’s Option

The Redskins have exercised the fifth-year option on guard Brandon Scherff, Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. The two-time Pro Bowler is now under contract through the 2019 season. 

The decision to extend Scherff for another season was a no-brainer for the Redskins. The former No. 5 pick in the 2015 draft has started in every one of his games over the last three seasons and has been rated as a top-tier lineman by the advanced metrics in each of the last two years. Last season, Scherff earned a career-best 83.2 overall score from Pro Football Focus, making him the eighth-highest ranked guard in the NFL. He placed ahead of many notables, including Ronald Leary, Richie Incognito, T.J. Lang, and Kelechi Osemele.

The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only, so the Redskins will be able to press the eject button before the additional year kicks in if Scherff’s performance suffers. The additional year for players taken in the top ten is equal to the transition tender at the player’€™s position during his fourth season. The transition tag for offensive lineman this year was $12.525MM, so that will be Scherff’s projected salary for ’19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cards, Abdullah, Redskins, Eagles

As their second-round pick approached in the 2015 draft, the Cardinals were in the midst of informing running back Ameer Abdullah over the phone that they were going to take him 55th overall. However, as shown on the new Amazon documentary series “All or Nothing,” the Lions traded a spot ahead of Arizona during the Cardinals’ discussion with Abdullah and stole the ex-Nebraska standout at No. 54 (link via Steven Ruiz of USA Today). With their Abdullah dream dashed, the Cardinals waited to address the position until the third round, selecting ex-Northern Iowa runner David Johnson 86th overall. Johnson emerged as a key member of the Cardinals’ offense as a rookie, totaling 1,038 yards (581 rushing, 457 receiving), averaging 4.6 yards per carry and piling up 12 touchdowns (eight rushing, four receiving). Abdullah, with 780 yards (597 rushing, 183 receiving), 4.2 YPC and three scores (two on the ground, one in the air), wasn’t nearly as successful in 2015.

More from the NFC:

  • If the Redskins are going to lock up franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term contract by the July 15 deadline, it’s going to take roughly $60MM in guarantees – $35MM of which would need to be fully guaranteed – and a $20MM average annual value, according to CBS Sports’ Joel Corry (Twitter link via Grant Paulsen of 106.7 The Fan). Such a deal would place Cousins sixth among quarterbacks in guarantees, tying him with MVP Cam Newton, and just outside the top 10 signal-callers in yearly value. As of now, it appears likely Cousins will play this season under the $19.95MM franchise tender.
  • The biggest question facing the Eagles as the season nears is how rookie head coach Doug Pederson will fare, opines Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com. Pederson – previously the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator – didn’t seem to be the Eagles’ top choice, notes Zangaro, who adds that other teams weren’t beating down his door for interviews. Pederson is off to an encouraging start, though, given his rapport with the Eagles’ players, Zangaro contends. Nevertheless, Pederson’s worth as a coach will come down to how he handles in-game situations.
  • Redskins right guard Brandon Scherff had a terrific rookie season after switching from right tackle last summer, starting all of the club’s games, missing only one snap and ranking as Pro Football Focus’ 26th-best performer at guard among 81 qualifiers. Expectations for Scherff are significantly higher in 2016, though, considering he was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft and is now entering his second year at the position, write Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
  • Earlier Friday, the Bears added a quarterback.

Extra Points: Spiller, Scherff, Lanning, Giants

C.J. Spiller became the latest key performer to have an injury end his preseason and potentially put the start of his regular season in doubt.

The Saints‘ presumed passing-down back underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Friday but is expected to make his Saints debut in Week 1, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, on Twitter.

Spiller, who did not play in the Saints’ initial preseason game, joins Zach Ertz, Julius Thomas and Jonathan Cyprien among the contingent that’s seen injuries make August a rehabilitation month.

Here are a few other items from around the league, beginning in Washington.

  • No. 5 overall pick Brandon Scherff may no longer play a position worthy of that kind of draft expense, with Washington coach Jay Gruden noting the Iowa product’s future will be at guard, per the Washington Post’s Mike Jones (on Twitter). Scherff’s currently slotted at right guard on Washington’s depth chart to accommodate 2014 third-rounder Morgan Moses, who sits atop the right tackle pecking order despite starting just one game last year. Gruden told media, including Jones (Twitter link), Scherff’s permanent move inside is due to Moses’ progression, not the decorated rookie’s inability to stick at right tackle.
  • Jones also points out Zach Miller isn’t a realistic option for Washington’s tight end crisis, with the former Raiders and Seahawks starter still not fully recovered from the ankle injury that ended his 2014 season (Twitter link).
  • Tom Coughlin confirmed Mykkele Thompson‘s Achilles’ tendon tear and noted higher-profile Giants rookie safety Landon Collins has a sprained MCL, per NJ.com’s Jordan Raanan. Collins is expected back by Week 1 but will probably miss most of the preseason, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). Vacchiano, on Twitter, also offers that Collins being back for the start of the Giants’ season isn’t a lock, with the recovery time for MCL sprains being 2-6 weeks.
  • Vying for the Broncos‘ kicker job after each had it for parts of last season, Brandon McManus and Connor Barth combined to go 5-for-5 in field goals Friday night, but Mike Klis of 9News notes that the Denver kicking competition now includes Spencer Lanning, should the team opt to go with one kicker and Lanning as a punter/kickoff specialist. The Browns’ punter before June’s Andy Lee trade, Lanning also poses a threat to longtime punter Britton Colquitt, who seemed safe after agreeing to reduce his salary by $1.4MM earlier this month.
  • Fifth-year outside linebacker Gabe Miller will work out for the Browns, tweets Adam Caplan of NFL.com. A fifth-round pick of the Chiefs in 2011, Miller’s only played in seven games in four years, each coming last season with Washington.