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Washington Free Agency: Who is re-signing and who is hitting the market?

Who stays and who goes this year?

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Redskins Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Tomorrow at 12pm is the start of the NFL’s “legal tampering period” which is poorly named idea that lets teams make deals with players without making them official. Players are not allowed to talk to teams directly, and deals can’t be signed. The tampering period has been going on for the last few months, but now the Adam Schefter’s and Ian Rapoport’s of the world can tweet out the new deals. Free agency officially kicks off on Wednesday, March, 17th at 4pm.

Ron Rivera has stated that the Washington Football Team has several players that they would like to bring back from last year’s division winning group. They started doing this in early January by giving C Chase Roullier a 4-year, $40.5 million extension. Several players were released either before the season ended, or shortly after(Dwayne Haskins Jr., Dontrelle Inman, Shaun Dion Hamilton).

Washington then worked on figuring out their QB situation for 2021. Taylor Heinicke was signed to a 2-year deal worth up to $8.75 million. Alex Smith was released, saving the team almost $15 million for this year’s cap. They also tendered ERFA Kyle Allen, bringing him back on a 1-year, $850k deal. Washington made several attempts to trade for a veteran QB, but missed on the three that got traded(Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz). There will likely be at least one QB released(Marcus Mariota) due to cap issues, and others entering free agency that Washington could pursue. Ron Rivera said they are not desperate, and the team has brought back two players they like.

All-Pro RG Brandon Scherff was given the franchise tag, and they are still trying to get him locked up long-term. This is the second year in a row he has been tagged which gives him a huge payday($18.04 million). Washington has until July 15th to work out a new deal with Scherff, or they will have to wait until after the season to start the dance over again.

Today brought another new contract for a player that was about to hit free agency. Kicker Dustin Hopkins has been with the team since 2015, and they are bringing him back for one more year. This move has been expected, and there has been no indication that the team will bring in competition for him. Long snapper Nick Sundberg is also a pending special teams free agent that Washington is expected to try to bring back.

WR Cams Sims is returning to Washington in 2021. He was a RFA and the team tendered him. There have been no details on the tender level, but it’s likely the lowest level which would pay him $2.1 million this year. He reportedly hasn’t signed the tender.

There have been a few updates over the last week on players that the team is expected to try to bring back, and a few that will be allowed to hit free agency.

Ryan Kerrigan’s time in Washington is likely over this year. There hasn’t been any negotiations about a return, and Kerrigan seemed to know it was over this year. He has said he would still like to be a starter this year. He is expected to have a similar role to what he was doing last year, situational pass rusher. John Keim mentioned that it would be possible for him to return if his options were limited in free agency, but it remains unlikely.

Ryan Anderson is also expected to hit free agency. He reportedly wants to go back to a team that runs a 3-4 scheme to play OLB.

Ronald Darby signed a cheap prove it deal(1-year, $3 million) last offseason, and had a solid season while also staying healthy. He is expected to be rewarded in free agency, but we are entering a strange year due to COVID-19 and a much lower than expected salary cap. John Keim said Washington was trying to get a deal done to bring Darby back to his hometown team, but nothing has been finalized. Several teams are reportedly interested in Darby, and he probably wants to hit free agency to maximize his value.

In John Keim’s latest podcast he discussed players that Washington would likely try to re-sign before free agency. Nick Sundberg was mentioned as likely to be brought back. The team would also like to re-sign LB Kevin Pierre-Louis. Rivera said this about KPL last week: “I’d love to see us get a guy with the skillset of Kevin Pierre-Louis, whether it’s Kevin or someone else. I’d love to have Kevin back.”

Another pending free agent is CB Danny Johnson. He was a restricted free agent heading into free agency, but Washington chose not to tender him. He will hit free agency, but the team likes his versatility in the secondary and on special teams. They will likely try to get him back on a 2-year deal on a cheap deal if he doesn’t find a better opportunity elsewhere.

Another RFA that isn’t getting tendered is WR Robert Foster who was a complete bust in 2020.

Free Agents not mentioned:

LB Reuben Foster - FA who likely won’t be brought back

OT David Sharpe - Washington traded a 6th for a 7th in this year to get Sharpe. Played 16.9% of the snaps on offense

RB Lamar Miller - Didn’t play a snap for Washington last year, unlikely to return

LB Mychal Kendricks - Scheduled to be sentenced for his insider trading charge this week

CB Fabian Moreau - Played 14.9% of the snaps on defense; didn’t get a lot of love here and likely to move on

LB Jared Norris - One of Rivera’s lunch pail guys on special teams

TE Jeremy Sprinkle - Haha