Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.
Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:
Sweat was limited to just ten games in 2021 thanks to a fractured jaw. Still, his past performance made this a pretty easy decision for Washington. Across all three years, the former first-round pick has 119 tackles and 21 sacks to his credit. He’s also registered seven forced fumbles, including three last year.
It’s also worth noting that Sweat suited up for 40 straight regular season games before the jaw injury. That helped the Commanders feel more comfortable with Sweat’s fully-guaranteed $11.5MM salary for 2023.
Sweat fell on draft day due to a misdiagnosed heart condition that tanked his stock. The Washington front office wasn’t bothered by the noise — they traded back into the first round, snagged Sweat at No. 26, and secured one of the better talents in the 2019 class.
December 18th, 2021 at 7:37pm CST by Zachary Links
We are trying our best here at Pro Football Rumors to keep up with all of the updates throughout the league concerning players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. A lot of teams had high hopes during today’s testing as they were trying to get players activated in time for Sunday’s slate of games.
WFT will have most of their defensive line when they take on the Eagles on Tuesday night. Washington Football Team announced that they’ve activated the following four players from the reserve/COVID-19 list:
Sweat, who is currently on injured reserve, was also designated for return, meaning his return to the field is imminent. Washington has been without Sweat since Week 8. The first-string defensive end had been recovering from a fractured jaw, and he intended to return to practice on Wednesday. A first-round Washington draftee, Sweat has registered four sacks this season and has 20 for his career. The Mississippi State product has forced two fumbles in each of his three seasons.
When fully healthy, Allen and Sweat should sit atop the depth chart. Smith-Williams and Toohill, who have both been forced into significant roles on the defensive line following injuries to Sweat and Chase Young, will be able to settle back into their backup/special teams roles.
Montez Sweat was on track to return to practice Wednesday, but he will see his absence extend into Week 14 and beyond. The young pass rusher tested positive for COVID-19, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The 2019 first-round pick is unvaccinated, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). This means he must isolate for a 10-day period. While this would give Sweat a chance of returning for Washington’s Week 15 game against the Eagles, the odds of that happening are slimmer because of his unvaccinated status. Sweat remains on IR.
Washington has been without Sweat since Week 8. The first-string defensive end had been recovering from a fractured jaw. The team has won four straight games, doing so despite Sweat’s injury and Chase Young being done for the season. Sweat obviously would stand to help the 6-6 squad down the stretch, but his return will have to wait a bit.
A first-round Washington draftee, Sweat has registered four sacks this season and has 20 for his career. The Mississippi State product has forced two fumbles in each of his three seasons.
Montez Sweat will head to the IR after all. Washington Football Team placed the defensive end on injured reserve today, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
Sweat suffered a fractured jaw two weeks ago, and while he was fortunate to avoid surgery, a trip to the IR still seemed pretty likely. The 25-year-old was told by doctors to have “no physical contact for a month,” so it sounded like there was no shot he’d return before December. Now, the earliest he can see the field is December 5th against the Raiders.
The 2019 first-round pick has been a force since entering the NFL. After collecting 16 sacks through his first two seasons, Sweat compiled another four sacks in eight starts this year. The defensive end also has 19 tackles, two forced fumbles, 12 QB hits, and three tackles for loss.
Washington Football Team will be withoutMontez Sweat for at least a handful of games. The defensive end suffered a fractured jaw on Sunday, reports NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). Grant Paulsen of The Athletic was first with the news (on Twitter).
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Sweat’s fracture won’t require surgery, so it will just be a waiting game for the 25-year-old. However, Sweat has been told “no physical contact for a month,” so it’s unlikely we’ll see him back on the field before December.
The 2019 first-round pick has been a force since entering the NFL. After collecting 16 sacks through his first two seasons, Sweat compiled another four sacks in eight starts this season. The defensive end also has 19 tackles, two forced fumbles, 12 QB hits, and three tackles for loss.
Jay Gruden is currently unattached, with the Jaguars hiring Urban Meyer last month. Darrell Bevell is the team’s new offensive coordinator. Gruden, who coached Washington from 2014-19, remains interested in returning to the sidelines.
However, the longtime NFL play-caller does not expect to coach this season. Gruden, 53, said, with staffs having mostly filled up over the past few weeks, he will likely sit out in 2021 before reassessing his options, Ben Standig of The Athletic notes (subscription required).
Gruden made some noise recently when he made a candid remark about Washington owner Daniel Snyder‘s draft involvement. The six-year Washington HC indicated the team’s owner “would come in off his yacht and make the pick” after Washington’s coaching staff and front office prepared for the draft. Gruden expanded on that assessment.
“Well, first and foremost, he is the owner. So if he wants to come off his yacht, or if he wants to come off his tennis court, wherever he’s at and make a pick, he has that right,” Gruden said. “(Dan) has the ultimate say, and that’s not going to change until he decides he wants to change.
“So I guess he’s given up total responsibility and total power to coach (Ron) Rivera, which is a good thing, I think. But when I was there, that wasn’t the case. He had final say over everything. He and (former team president) Bruce Allen would talk about it, and they would make the decision. I signed up for that. I knew that was the case going in, and that’s just the way it was.”
Like Gruden, Allen is no longer with the franchise. Snyder dismissed the 10-year team president after the 2019 season. But the Snyder-Allen-Gruden power trio was in place for nearly six seasons. The last of those, a 3-13 season that involved Gruden being fired after an 0-5 start, transpired after a controversial draft.
It has been long reported Gruden was against drafting Dwayne Haskins, a Snyder- and Allen-driven move. Gruden said one of the team’s plans involved taking Montez Sweat at No. 15; Washington later traded back into Round 1 and drafted the edge defender at No. 26. Gruden also mentioned being high on safety Darnell Savage, whom the Packers drafted at No. 21 overall.
“We knew we needed a quarterback, though. I mean, so at the end of the day, it’s not like Dwayne was not a good prospect. He’s a young football player with a lot of talent. So it’s not the end of the world we took Dwayne,” Gruden said, via Standig. “We just didn’t think we had to take him that high. It’s just what we thought … if we lost Dwayne that there were a couple of other ones later we might be able to get to come in and maybe compete with Case. Plus there was still hope in the back of our minds that Alex would come back.”
Coming off a 50-touchdown pass 2018 season at Ohio State, Haskins was viewed as a surefire first-round pick. The Giants were connected to him at No. 6 overall, though they surprised most by drafting Daniel Jones. Haskins fell to No. 15, becoming the third quarterback off the 2019 board. Some in Washington’s organization were believed to have placed a third-round grade on the quarterback.
Gruden said during the interview Haskins “wasn’t quite ready” when a Case Keenum injury first summoned him into action in Week 4 of the ’19 season. The organization quickly soured on the quarterback, benching him early in the 2020 season and putting him on the trade block. The Rivera-led regime waived Haskins in December of last year.
Snyder overruled Washington football-side brass on other occasions, Gruden said. Washington now has Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney atop running football ops.
“For the most part, I’d say 85-90% of the time, we were making pretty much football decisions that were good for the football team, and they were (decisions) that everybody agreed on. … The majority,” Gruden said. “But there were a few picks (during my time) that we had nothing to do with it.”
The currently unattached coach also discussed Kirk Cousins‘ exit. The Allen-led Cousins negotiations led to animosity, two franchise tags and the quarterback’s departure in free agency in 2018. Rather than a trade haul, Washington only received a third-round compensatory pick for its four-year QB starter.
“For the most part, I was given every opportunity to succeed there. We just didn’t get it done,” Gruden said. “There are some decisions there that I wish we could have had back. Obviously, we should have gotten more for Kirk Cousins. That’s the biggest thing, that I think we should have got more for Kirk Cousins than a third-round pick.”
The Redskins stood pat at No. 15 and came away with Haskins, who was widely regarded as one of the two best QBs in the draft. After that, they moved back into the first round to snag Sweat at No. 26. Both players could prove to be incredible values – Sweat was pegged as a top 10 choice before a misdiagnosed heart condition hurt his stock. Then, just before the draft, doctors caught the error and OK’d him and his “normal heart” to play football.
Sweat finished his two-year Bulldogs career with 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. He spent his first two collegiate campaigns at Michigan State, where he did not see a whole lot of playing time. In 2019, head coach Jay Gruden says that he expects to use Sweat frequently.