The Washington NFL franchise plans on waiting until after the 2020 NFL season to work out a new contract with three-time Pro Bowler Brandon Scherff, according to ESPN’s John Keim.
Washington placed the franchise tag on Scherff, which will pay him a little more than $15 million this year.
Teams have until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to agree to long-term extensions with players on the franchise tag.
Keim’s report matches what he wrote last week: “There isn’t much optimism that a long-term deal will be struck with right guard Brandon Scherff before the July 15 deadline to sign players on the franchise tag, a source said.”
Perhaps Washington is reluctant to commit to a big extension at a time when the financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unclear. Staging games without fans or limited attendance—or potentially canceling games altogether—could cause a big hit to the NFL’s bottom line, thus impacting the 2021 salary cap.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo and Judy Battista covered the topic last month:
“The worst-case scenario is that every game is played in a completely empty stadium, leading to what sources have estimated as a $4 billion or $5 billion drop — about a third of revenue. Under that scenario, teams could bring in $40 million to $80 million less than expected. The losses are likely to be less than that, because it is expected that some fans will be able to attend games in some stadiums, although stadiums won’t be packed. Still, if there are huge revenue losses, the 2021 cap will be impacted.”
Scherff hasn’t played a full season since 2016, either, raising questions about his durability.
The risk for Washington is that it will be at the mercy of the market. If he rebounds with a strong 2020, his price tag could climb far higher than whatever his demands are now.
The Tennessee Titans declined Jack Conklin’s fifth-year option, a decision they probably regretted when they watched him sign a three-year, $42 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Washington already allowed its relationship with Trent Williams to sour to the point the seven-time Pro Bowler sat out all of 2019 and was eventually traded to the San Francisco 49ers. Now, the team could potentially lose another of its best offensive linemen for the second successive offseason.
That’s less than ideal when the franchise has a young quarterback, Dwayne Haskins Jr., who’s supposed to be the cornerstone of the offense.
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