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 $16M.
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 ($14.08M), and the Cowboys’ Zack Martin boasts the highest amount of guaranteed money ($40M). 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.