It was reported late last summer that Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff turned down a contract extension worth over $13 million per year. And why should anyone be surprised about that?
If Scherff was allowed to test free agency this past winter, he would have likely landed a contract exceeding that of Eagles guard Brandon Brooks ($14.087M- average), who is the league’s highest paid as his position. As expected, Scherff received the franchise tag this offseason guaranteeing him just over $15 million for the 2020 season.
It appears though, that Scherff would like to be paid at or near what the top offensive tackles (a much more premium position) are currently making. He’s not going to make near the record-breaking contract Texans’ left tackle Laremy Tunsil just negotiated on his own behalf (22M per year average), but he could come close to the $14.5 million dollar per year contract that Cardinals’ left tackle D.J. Humphries agreed to, and should certainly exceed the three year, $42 million dollar contract that Jack Conklin just signed with the Browns in free agency.
So why not simply make Scherff into what he was drafted to be - a right tackle?
Arms: 33 1/8
40 Time: 5.05
Vertical: 32 1/2
Short Shuttle: 4.53
At Iowa, Scherff started out at guard as a freshman, but took over at left tackle as a sophomore for the departed Riley Reiff. He would remain there throughout his career, winning the Outland Trophy(2014) and being voted first team All-Big 10 and a unanimous All-American at the conclusion of the 2014 college football season.
He started his professional career as a right tackle, but was move to right guard after Morgan Moses, who was returning from a lisfranc injury, performed well during the 2015 training camp. He has remained at guard since his rookie year.
A major weakness of the 2020 Redskins is at offensive tackle. Perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams was traded to the 49ers on day two of the 2020 NFL draft, and the team did very little in free agency to address the expected departure of Williams prior to draft day. The Redskins did select LSU underclassmen Saahdiq Charles in the fourth round, and many felt they got an absolute steal for a prospect most felt was a second round talent who had dropped for off-field issues. Charles should compete with newly signed free agent Cornelius Lucas for the starting left tackle spot this summer in training camp.
Right tackle has become an issue as well, as Morgan Moses’ play has seen a steady decline since 2017. Last year, the veteran tackle was responsible for 37 pressures, five sacks and 11 penalties. His technique has not improved and his bad habits are becoming a detriment to the team.
Could Brandon Scherff be the answer at right tackle?
There are a few schools of thought here...
First, Scherff is a much better functional athlete than Morgan Moses on the edge. Moses has extremely heavy feet, and tends to rely TOO much on his long arms and waist-bending habits to “steer” defenders away from the pocket. His 5.35 second 40 yard dash, 21” vertical and 7.93 3-cone drill are about as pedestrian as they come. Combine that with multiple foot and ankle injuries, and you have what you saw on the field in 2019 - a major liability on the edge.
Second, Scherff compares very favorably, especially from an athletic standpoint, to many successful right tackles in the NFL today. Let’s look at the Browns’ new right tackle Jack Conklin (who is a pretty good athlete playing OT):
Height: 6’5” 3/4
Hands: 10 3/8
40 Time: 5.00
Short Shuttle: 4.53
*The only thing Conklin really has on Scherff is longer arms
Third, the Redskins currently have some good young interior offensive linemen. In 2019, the Redskins drafted Wes Martin. Many thought he could take over at left guard until Ereck Flowers blew the lid completely off that. This offseason, Martin is expected to compete with newly acquired free agent Wes Schweitzer for the starting left guard position. Martin’s natural position is right guard, so he could be a plug-in option there if Scherff were moved to right tackle. The Redskins also have 2019 fifth round pick Ross Pierschbacher and 2020 fifth rounder Keith Ismael. There is also a very intriguing option on the free agent market in former Saints Pro Bowler Larry Warford, who will turn 29 this summer.
Finally, Moses could be kept as the team’s swing tackle, or be released with a post June designation, saving the team $6.75 million - enough to extend Chase Roullier or possibly sign Warford.
There is the argument against this move, as some will say it now requires two new players to learn different positions. I will argue however that this move actually STRENGTHENS our entire offensive line.
Below is a potential starting five and two-deep from left to right:
LT: Saahdiq Charles, Cornelius Lucas
LG: Wes Schweitzer/Keith Ismael
C: Chase Roullier, Ross Pierschbacher
RG: Wes Martin/Keith Ismael
RT: Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses OR Geron Christian
So Scherff, who was a college offensive tackle, moves back to his more natural spot on the outside, and strengthens an already weak spot. Martin, who is more of a natural right guard, gets to move back to his comfort zone. If Moses is released and Charles wins the left tackle position, Lucas could be an excellent swing tackle option(which is likely what he was signed to be).
It is my opinion that the Redskins have more quality starting options and depth on the interior. Fixing a MAJOR problem by kicking Scherff back out to right tackle could drastically help Dwayne Haskins’ maturation. If the Redskins were to draft a left tackle in 2021, there is even an option of kicking Charles inside to left guard.
Should the Redskins consider moving Brandon Scherff to right tackle?
This poll is closed
Yes - Moses has become too much of a liability
No - He’s a Pro Bowl guard and he should remain there
If he wants to get paid like a tackle, move him to tackle