Brandon Scherff

Washington Activates Brandon Scherff

Washington will have its top offensive lineman available Sunday against the Giants. The team activated Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff, moving him from its IR list to the 53-man roster.

An MCL sprain paused Scherff’s season, but it appears he will only have to miss the three mandated games that come with a 2020 IR placement. While there are obviously other factors at play, Washington is 1-0 with Scherff playing a full game this season and 0-4 without him. Scherff’s absence certainly hurt Washington last week, when Aaron Donald beat both of Washington’s starting guards en route to a career-high four sacks.

Although Washington is not expected to contend for a playoff spot, even out of this year’s woeful NFC East, Scherff has some key games ahead. He has missed 16 games over the past three seasons, after only missing two from 2015-17. Washington slapped its franchise tag on Scherff this year, becoming the first team since the Patriots in 2011 to tag a guard. Scherff staying healthy the rest of the way would put him in position for a massive extension.

In his sixth season, Scherff will turn 29 this December. While the Iowa product has been one of the game’s best guards when healthy since being drafted fifth overall, his next contract will likely cover the remainder of his prime. That will make staying healthy paramount for Scherff to maximize his value — either with Washington or in free agency.

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Washington Places Brandon Scherff On IR

The Washington Football Team has placed offensive lineman Brandon Scherff on injured reserve, per a club announcement. Scherff suffered an MCL sprain on Sunday against the Cardinals, which will keep him out of action for at least three weeks. In a related move, Washington promoted wide receiver Cam Sims from the practice squad. 

At minimum, Scherff will miss the next three games against the Browns, Ravens, and Rams. If he’s cleared in time, he’ll be eligible to return on Oct. 18 against the Giants at the Meadowlands.

Thanks to the franchise tag, Scherff is set to play out 2020 on a one-year, $15.03MM deal. The three-time Pro Bowler was the first guard to receive the franchise tag since 2011, and that’s largely due to the league’s arcane rules regarding offensive lineman. Per the collective bargaining agreement, guards and tackles are classified under the same “offensive lineman” banner. Those franchise tender salaries are calculated off of the average of the top five at any given position, and teams aren’t keen on paying tackle money to guards. At least, they haven’t historically been keen on that. Scherff is one of the better interior linemen in the league, and the cost of quality guards has risen dramatically.

Since entering the league as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Scherff has started in all 67 of his games. Unfortunately, he’s also missed a good chunk of time. Between 2018 and 2019, he was sidelined for 13 games. He’s one of the league’s very best interior protectors when he’s healthy, but the injury bug has unfortunately bitten him once again.

Redskins’ Brandon Scherff Won’t Sign Before Deadline

No surprise here, but Brandon Scherff‘s extension talks will be tabled until next year, according to sources who spoke with John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). With that, the franchise-tagged offensive lineman is set to play out 2020 on a $15.03MM deal. 

[RELATED: Kelvin Harmon Tears ACL]

Scherff, a three-time Pro Bowler, signed his tag almost immediately, quelling any possibility of a holdout. He’s the first guard to receive the franchise tag since 2011, and that’s largely due to the league’s arcane rules regarding offensive lineman. Per the collective bargaining agreement, guards and tackles are classified under the same “offensive lineman” banner. Those franchise tender salaries are calculated off of the average of the top five at any given position, and teams aren’t keen on paying tackle money to guards.

Since entering the league as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Scherff has started in all 65 of his games. Unfortunately, he’s also missed a good chunk of time. Between 2018 and 2019, he’s been sidelined for 13 games. Still, he’s one of the league’s very best interior protectors when he’s healthy, and the Redskins are glad to have him in the fold.

In the long run, Ron Rivera would love to keep Scherff for years to come. But, as we’ve heard with just about every other franchise-tagged player, the current economic climate has brought extension talks to a screeching halt.

I want to sign a long-term deal with them,” Scherff said earlier this year. “I love it there, and I’ve always said I wanted to be a Redskin for the rest of my career. So, hopefully we can work towards that.”

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Latest On Redskins OL Brandon Scherff

It doesn’t sound like Brandon Scherff will sign a long-term deal with the Redskins. ESPN’s John Keim reports “there isn’t much optimism” that the franchise-tagged offensive lineman will ink an extension prior to the July 15th deadline.

[RELATED: Status Of Tagged Players Prior To July 15 Extension Deadline]

Earlier this offseason, the 28-year-old became the first guard to receive the franchise tag since 2011. He quickly signed that deal, and there was optimism from both sides that they’d agree to an extension. Keim notes that the organization has “expressed a desire to keep [Scherff] long term,” while the previous lineman indicated that he wants to stick around.

“It’s gone well,” Scherff said back in April. “Just pretty much sat down and talked to my agent — that’s what he’s there for — and I want to sign a long-term deal with them, too. I love it there, and I’ve always said I wanted to be a Redskin for the rest of my career. So, hopefully we can work towards that.”

If Scherff doesn’t sign an extension prior to the July 15th deadline, he’ll lock himself into a one-year, $15.03MM deal.

Washington drafted Scherff fifth overall back in 2015, and the Iowa product has since started all 65 of his NFL games. While he only missed two games from 2015-17, he’s been sidelined for 13 games over the past two seasons. When he’s been on the field, Scherff has been one of the NFL’s best offensive linemen, and he earned his third career Pro Bowl nod in 2019.

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Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out

NFC Notes: Scherff, Cook, Winston, Giants

As of right now, Brandon Scherff is set to play next season under the franchise tag. However, the three-time Pro Bowler is confident he’ll sign an extension with the Redskins.

“It’s gone well,” Scherff said of the negotiations (via Kyle Stackpole of Redskins.com). “Just pretty much sat down and talked to my agent — that’s what he’s there for — and I want to sign a long-term deal with them, too. I love it there, and I’ve always said I wanted to be a Redskin for the rest of my career. So, hopefully we can work towards that.”

After becoming the first guard to receive the franchise tag since 2011, Scherff signed his franchise tender relatively quickly. He’s set to make $14.8MM in 2020 under the tag.

Since being selected with the fifth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, Scherff has started all 65 of his regular season appearances. However, he’s been limited to only 19 games over the past two years thanks to a pair of IR trips.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Running back Dalvin Cook and the Vikings are also in the midst of extension talks, and the 24-year-old has made it clear that he wants to stick in Minnesota. “I definitely love Minnesota,” Cook told Chris Tomasson of TwinCities.com. “I love everything the state has to bring. Being a kid, I was drafted (in 2017) from Miami (his hometown), so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I actually am happy where I’m at, and I would like to be in Minnesota long term.”  After compiling 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season, Cook is set to make a base salary of $1.33MM next season.
  • Jameis Winston isn’t a bust, says the GM who drafted him. While the Buccaneers were eager to replace the former first-overall pick with a soon-to-be 43-year-old quarterback, Jason Licht is still optimistic about Winston’s future in the NFL. “We have a lot of respect for Jameis,” the executive told ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “Jameis was still part of our plan if things went a different route. We’ve got a lot of respect for him. I thought he did a lot of great things, and anybody in our office or building would say the same thing. He did some spectacular things for us. I would never say that, personally — and I think I speak on behalf of the organization — that he’s a bust. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.” Last season, Winston led the league in passing yards (5,109) and interceptions (30).
  • The Giants “love” Iowa offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs, reports Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. While the front office has been infatuated with him since well before the combine, there are some who believe the Giants still won’t take him with the fourth-overall pick. In fact, some sources told Vacchiano that they believe the Giants will opt for another lineman in Alabama’s Jedrick Wills or Louisville’s Mekhi Becton.

Redskins’ Brandon Scherff Signs Franchise Tender

Brandon Scherff is officially headed back to Washington. The standout guard has signed his franchise tender to remain with the Redskins, a source told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

As Schefter notes, him signing this early will require him to be at training camp, provided it proceeds as scheduled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Scherff became the first guard to get franchise-tagged since all the way back in 2011. He’s set to make $14.8MM in 2020 under the tag. The tag system groups all offensive linemen together, which explains why it’s so rarely used on a guard. Scherff has certainly proved himself worthy of being the exception, making the Pro Bowl in three of the past four seasons.

The only time he didn’t make it in that span was in 2018, when he appeared in only eight games due to a torn pec. He was again banged up last year, missing five games with elbow and shoulder issues. The fifth-overall pick in the 2015 draft, Scherff is one of the few consistent players on Washington’s offense.

Given the continued uncertainty surrounding left tackle Trent Williams, it makes sense why the Redskins would want to take no chances with their other stud offensive lineman. The two sides still have until July to work out a long-term extension.

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Redskins To Franchise G Brandon Scherff

Two days before the twice-moved tag deadline, the Redskins will not take any chances with Brandon Scherff. As a result, the NFL will have its first franchise-tagged guard since 2011. This year’s O-line tag comes in at $14.8MM.

The Redskins will use their top tag on Scherff, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). This was the expectation, but it still marks a notable change of sorts for the guard position. This will take a three-time Pro Bowler off the market. Scherff joins Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Hunter Henry and Justin Simmons among this year’s franchise-tagged contingent.

Washington will use the exclusive franchise tag on Scherff, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This is in dispute, however, with Rapoport and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero indicating it’s the non-exclusive tag (Twitter links). The latter scenario would make more sense, given the implausibility of a team trading two first-round picks for a guard.

While Scherff has battled injuries in recent years, he would have been a strong candidate to become the NFL’s highest-paid guard had the Redskins let him hit the market. The sides’ negotiations did not produce a deal. They will have until July 15 to finalize an extension, or Scherff will play on the tag.

No team has franchised a guard since the Patriots kept Logan Mankins off the market nine years ago. The tag system groups all offensive linemen together. A guard tag being worth the same as a tackle tag has undoubtedly influenced teams’ thinking in recent years, thus allowing several high-end guards to hit free agency.

Washington drafted Scherff at No. 5 overall and immediately moved the Iowa tackle to guard. Scherff, 28, has started all 65 games in which he’s played. He only missed two games from 2015-17 but has been absent for 13 over the past two years. Shoulder and elbow injuries shut Scherff down in 2019; a torn pectoral muscle ended his 2018 season. When on the field, however, Scherff has been one of the NFL’s best offensive linemen.

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Redskins Plan To Franchise Brandon Scherff

No team has used a franchise tag on a guard since 2011. The 2020 Redskins appear ready to take this rarely traversed route. They intend to tag Brandon Scherff, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets.

A weekend report pointed to the Redskins being ready to deploy their tag for this purpose, with the Ron Rivera regime ready to do whatever it takes to retain the Pro Bowl blocker. The Redskins drafted Scherff in the 2015 first round and watched the former Iowa tackle make three Pro Bowls as a guard.

Washington has $61MM-plus in cap space, so a tag would not be burdensome. However, all offensive linemen are grouped together under the tag format. Scherff would receive an approximate $15MM salary under the tag. Logan Mankins was the last guard tagged, and the Patriots extended him later that summer.

Faced with the prospect of losing both Scherff and Trent Williams, the Redskins have put the prospect of keeping both into play. While Williams wants a raise or a trade, Rivera has reopened communication lines damaged by since-fired team president Bruce Allen. The Redskins resumed contract talks with Scherff, one of Allen’s best draft picks, after months without dialogue.

The No. 5 overall pick five years ago, Scherff has become one of the NFL’s top guards. He graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 10 guard in 2019, before going down with a season-ending injury in December. Scherff has dealt with injury issues recently, missing 13 games between the 2018-19 seasons. But he made the 2016, ’17 and ’19 Pro Bowl rosters, and with Joe Thuney being linked to a guard-record deal, Washington’s 28-year-old standout blocker would be in line for a monster deal if allowed to hit the open market.

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Redskins, Brandon Scherff In Contract Talks

Left tackle Trent Williams‘ future with the Redskins is still uncertain, but Washington seems prepared to do whatever it takes to keeps its other top-tier offensive lineman in the fold. Head coach Ron Rivera told JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington that the team has opened contract talks with guard Brandon Scherff (Twitter link). Scherff is eligible to hit the free agent market in March.

Scherff and the Redskins were engaged in contract talks last February as well, but they did not get very far. Indeed, Finlay reported in September that the team was likely to let the Iowa product test free agency, but Washington now has a new power structure in place. And that structure does not want Scherff to sign elsewhere.

Per Finlay, the Redskins seem prepared to use the franchise tag on Scherff if they cannot work out a long-term deal before the tag window closes on March 12. The 2020 franchise tag value for guards checks in at just over $16MM.

That figure will surely be the starting point in negotiations. The Eagles’ Brandon Brooks currently enjoys the highest average annual value among the league’s guards ($14.08MM), and the Cowboys’ Zack Martin boasts the highest amount of guaranteed money ($40MM). Scherff, though, could top both of those figures.

Though his 2019 campaign was cut short due to injury, Scherff was named to his third Pro Bowl in his five-year career. He graded out as the eighth-best guard in the league last season, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, and he is especially adept at run-blocking. Though Washington’s O-line as a whole was a middling unit in 2019, losing Scherff would be a big blow. Keeping him, however, will take a big investment.

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