Brandon Scherff

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.

Washington Signs Brandon Scherff

Another team has made quick work of locking up its 2015 draft class, as Washington announced today in a press release that fifth overall pick Brandon Scherff has officially inked his rookie contract with the club.

While Washington’s announcement didn’t mention terms of Scherff’s deal, Over The Cap’s data shows that the former Iowa offensive lineman will receive a four-year pact worth about $21.216MM, with a signing bonus of approximately $13.69MM. As a top-five pick, Scherff will have that salary fully guaranteed, and his contract will feature a fifth-year option for 2019.

Scherff was a bit of a surprise pick for Washington at No. 5 overall, since many experts and observers believed the team would select a pass rusher. However, he should be a nice addition to an offensive line that has had its share of ups and downs in recent years. Scherff is expected to start his NFL career at the right tackle position, across from Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams.

After reaching a deal with Scherff, Washington has now signed all 10 of its draftees, making the club the eight franchise to finish signing its 2015 draft class. The Jets, Vikings, Texans, Dolphins, Bears, Panthers, and Ravens have also taken care of all their draft picks.

Washington Notes: Kerrigan, Williams, Scherff

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has accrued an impressive 38 sacks during his four seasons in Washington and is a year away from free agency, where he stands to cash in big. Kerrigan might not reach the open market, however, as ongoing extension talks between his agent and Washington “are progressing well,” he told Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com (Twitter link). Kerrigan, who racked up a career-high 13.5 sacks last season, will make just over $7MM in the final year of his contract.

In addition to Kerrigan, Washington is at risk of losing three-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams to free agency after next season. General manager Scot McCloughan hopes to keep Williams, whom Pro football Focus (subscription required) ranked 18th out of 84 qualifying tackles last season and who will count over $13.7MM against Washington’s cap in 2015.

“We’re going to take care of our own. That’s very important,” McCloughan said, per El-Bashir (Twitter link).

More news and notes on Washington:

  • Washington agreed to deals with nine of its 10 draft picks from this year’s class earlier Monday. The only one without a contract, first-rounder Brandon Scherff, won’t be unsigned for much longer. An agreement between the team and its highly touted offensive lineman is “very close,” said McCloughan, according to Tom Schad of the Washington Times (via Twitter). It could get done in time for the club’s rookie minicamp this weekend.
  • Robert Griffin III’s first year under Jay Gruden didn’t go well, but the head coach is expecting improvement from his quarterback in 2015. Gruden believes RGIII knows the system better and won’t have to think as much, tweeted Mike Jones of the Washington Post. For his part, Griffin says he feels better mentally (Twitter link).
  • Former Alabama quarterback Blake Sims will try out for Washington as a running back or slot receiver this week, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sims worked out for teams as a return man prior to the draft.
  • McCloughan originally wanted to sign 13 undrafted free agents. Two fell through, one on account of retirement, per Schad (Twitter).

East Rumors: Jets, Flowers, Giants

The Jets had cursory talks with the Titans about moving up for the No. 2 , but they weren’t exploring the move to try and land Marcus Mariota, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com tweets. Here’s more from the AFC and NFC East..

  • Brandon Scherff was higher on the Giants‘ board than Ereck Flowers, but they did not expect Scherff to get to No. 9, Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News tweets. Many speculated that the Giants were left scrambling at No. 9 with Scherff off the board, but it sounds like they were never banking on the Iowa standout.
  • The Giants did not make any effort to trade up to the Jets‘ No. 6 pick when USC defensive end Leonard Williams fell to the Jets at that spot, Vacchiano tweets.
  • Despite a report to the contrary, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (on Twitter) says the Dolphins have never expressed interest in Evan Mathis of the Eagles.
  • More from Salguero (link), who notes that the Dolphins wanted Todd Gurley. According to a team source, they were prepared to move up for him, but didn’t expect him to go as high as he did. “It’s not like we sat on our hands while he went No. 13. He went No. 10,” the source said.
  • The Cowboys taking Byron Jones in the first round should create some leverage for a Brandon Carr pay cut and give the Cowboys the upper hand in Orlando Scandrick‘s contract dispute, Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets.

East Rumors: Scherff, Fowler Jr., Agholor, Pats

The latest from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • Washington could prefer offensive lineman Brandon Scherff to edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr., per Dianna Marie Russini (Twitter link), who adds that the club could move back to target a defensive lineman like Danny Shelton.
  • USC receiver Nelson Agholor is a “good bet” to be the fourth receiver selected, and he’s been connected to the Dolphins, Chiefs, and Texans recently, tweets Albert Breer of NFL.com.
  • Admitting that the Patriots’ draft strategy is uncertain as of now, owner Robert Kraft said that this draft features solid options in the middle rounds, meaning New England could trade down (Twitter links via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald).

Breer’s Latest: Titans, Gurley, Rams, Bears

With the draft less than an hour from getting underway, Albert Breer of the NFL Network took to Twitter to pass along a number of draft-related nuggets. Here are the highights from Breer (all Twitter links):

  • The Titans have fielded offers for the No. 2 pick, but haven’t gotten any to their liking yet and are ready to draft Marcus Mariota. The club isn’t very interested in picks below 15th overall as a central part of any trade package.
  • Teams like the Browns, Dolphins, and Chargers are eyeing Todd Gurley, and it’s possible one of those clubs – or another suitor – will get anxious and trade up for the Georgia running back, given the interest he’s generating.
  • Although Washington, the Jets, and the Rams are all viewed as trade-down candidates in the top 10, St. Louis is a little more flexible than the other two teams, who may not want to drop too far. Washington may target an offensive lineman like Brandon Scherff or Ereck Flowers if Scot McCloughan decides to move down, and those players – or Andrus Peatcould be targets for the Giants and Rams as well.
  • There’s a belief that Giants GM Jerry Reese would prefer a pass rusher to an offensive lineman at No. 9, but depending on how the first few picks play out, the value might not match up.
  • According to Breer, the run on offensive lineman may happen earlier in the first round than people think, which may motivate one or two teams to trade up. Cameron Erving has a chance to go in the teens. The Panthers and Broncos are among the teams picking late in the first who are seeking offensive linemen.
  • Cornerback Trae Waynes is generating buzz and could go as high as seventh overall to the Bears. Dupree and Kevin White are also in the mix at No. 7. The draft range for Amari Cooper appears to be between the third and sixth overall pick, so he likely won’t be available for Chicago at No. 7.
  • The Falcons may decide to move up from No. 8 for an impact defender like Leonard Williams, but if they stay where they are, Bud Dupree could be their man.
  • Either Sean Mannion or Bryce Petty figures to be the third quarterback off the board, and it’s not likely to happen in the first round.
  • According to Breer, teams believe Shane Ray will slip but will be picked in the first round, whereas Randy Gregory isn’t viewed as a first-round pick.

Jets Rumors: Wilkerson, Washington, Draft

The draft isn’t in New York anymore, but that won’t stop some ambitious Jets fans from booing their team’s first round pick, as Stu Woo of The Wall Street Journal writes. “The booing is more than just about this year’s draft,” one fan said. “It’ll never stop unless there’s a Super Bowl.” The latest on the Jets..

  • The Jets are high on Leonard Williams, Dante Fowler Jr., and Amari Cooper. They’ll likely be gone by No. 6, however, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com hears from sources that there are now four projected targets for the Jets at No. 6: wide receiver Kevin White, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, offensive lineman Brandon Scherff, and running back Todd Gurley (though he adds that Gurley is a longshot).
  • Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has come up in discussion with at least one other team picking in the top five, but it’s still doubtful that he’ll be traded at this point, Manish Mehta of the Daily News tweets.
  • A Jets source told Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that he was hearing buzz of Washington possibly moving down. The Jets are very interested in how that plays out since it will impact them at No. 6.
  • The source who spoke with Anderson (link) also didn’t didn’t rule out the possibility of moving out of No. 6 and he said that additional positions may be considered if they do. Many have said that the Jets could drop back in the draft though if they stay put, a pass rusher seems like a good possibility.