The start of NFL free agency is less than a month away, and before the Washington Football Team can explore free agents they'd like to target, they need to make decisions on the pending free agents already in their building.
Washington must make its biggest decision of the offseason — what to do with All-Pro right guard Brandon Scherff — before free agency and the new league year begin on March 17.
Playing on the franchise tag in 2020, Scherff had the best season of his career since being selected fifth overall by Washington in 2015, becoming the organization's first first-team All-Pro in 24 years.
Should Washington allow him to test free agency, he would be the top offensive lineman available on the market and, if they lost him, they'd have a gaping hole to address in free agency or the draft.
Washington still has time to lock Scherff up with a new long-term deal and, if unable to do so, could theoretically go the franchise tag route again. Franchise-tagging Scherff for a second straight year could cost Washington over $18 million, according to Pro Football Focus.
Outside of Scherff, Washington is widely expected to part with edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan, its first-round pick in 2011, after 10 seasons. Kerrigan was relegated to being a rotational piece along Washington's revamped defensive front in 2020 and wants a chance to be a starter again.
Washington has 19 total players who can become free agents of some variety when the new league year begins on March 17, including 15 who are eligible to become unrestricted free agents. Washington has five potential free agents on its roster — Kevin Pierre-Louis, Ronald Darby, Dustin Hopkins, Nick Sundberg and Scherff — who were regular starters in 2020.
Unrestricted Free Agents
Brandon Scherff, Age: 29, G
David Sharpe, Age: 25, T
Lamar Miller, Age: 29, RB
Jeremy Sprinkle, Age: 26, TE
Ryan Kerrigan, Age: 32 , DE
Ronald Darby, Age: 27, CB
Ryan Anderson, Age: 26, OLB
Fabian Moreau, 26, CB
Thomas Davis, Age: 37, LB
Kevin Pierre-Louis, Age: 29, OLB
Reuben Foster, Age: 26, ILB
Mychal Kendricks, Age: 30, OLB
Jared Norris, Age: 27, OLB
Dustin Hopkins, Age: 30, K
Nick Sundberg, Age: 33, LS
An unrestricted free agent (UFA) is any player with four or more accrued seasons and an expired contract. UFAs are free to negotiate and sign with any team.
Restricted Free Agents
Robert Foster, 26, WR
Danny Johnson, Age: 25, CB
A restricted free agent (RFA) is any player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract. RFAs can negotiate and sign with any team, but can also be tendered by their original team. These qualifying offers, or "tenders," come with the right of first refusal and/or draft pick compensation. In 2021, tenders must be submitted before 4 p.m. ET on March 17.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
Kyle Allen, Age: 24, QB
Cam Sims, Age: 25, WR
An exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) is any player with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract. If an ERFA's original team offers him a one-year contract at league minimum, he cannot negotiate with other teams.
Taylor Heinicke, Age: 27, QB (Signed 2-year extension worth $8.75M in February)
Chase Roullier, Age: 27, C (Signed 4-year extension worth $40.5 million in January)