SNIDER: Will Redskins keep top players?

Rick Snider
December 18, 2019 - 5:14 pm
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Has Brandon Scherff played his last game for the Redskins? What about Trent Williams or Ryan Kerrigan? Who’s the coach and general manager could make all the difference.

Scherff’s and Williams’ return to the line comes down to front office changes. If beleaguered team president Bruce Allen departs and his successor is willing to pay to keep the offensive line together with its two Pro Bowlers and former first-round picks, then both will surely stay. Williams will want a contract extension, but that’s normal business.

If Allen stays, then both are probably gone. The Redskins are auditioning guard Wes Martin as Scherff’s replacement over the final two games with the latter now on injured reserve. The rookie guard fared well in his first start after a promising training camp so maybe Washington goes cheaper there. Scherff earned his second Pro Bowl nod on Tuesday, but frankly hasn’t been the difference-maker expected.

Donald Penn was a decent one-season replacement for Williams. Yes, it was a notch below Williams, but the Redskins aren’t 3-11 because of left tackle. If Williams is encouraged by front office changes, he could return. After all, he spoke well of owner Dan Snyder and the team before throwing Allen under a bus. His return is still possible.

Kerrigan is probable to return for his contract’s final season, though $11.7 million will make bean-counters wonder given the linebacker missed four games with injuries. Yes, Kerrigan was an ironman with 139 straight starts before hurt, but that’s the past. It’s a cold business, but Kerrigan is one of the team’s more popular players and the Redskins need him for marketing purposes.

But those aren’t the only marquee players that may depart.

Josh Norman has $15.5 million reasons to return for the final year of his deal. He won’t get that on the free agent market. Whether the Redskins want him to return is debatable, especially by saving $12.5 million if releasing him. It’s up to the next coach to turn around a once-elite player who seemingly lost interest. The right coach might elevate the cornerback, but most likely the team opts to move on after a lackluster season. Still, his exit isn’t certain.

Adrian Peterson has been a bargain for Washington and $3 million next year would still be cheap. Given Derrius Guice’s multiple knee injuries, the Redskins need Peterson as more than insurance. He’s coming off a solid season so this seems like a no-brainer for both sides.

Paul Richardson is the only absolute cut after just 48 catches in two seasons with 15 games missed through injuries. Washington saves $2.3 million overall and clears a spot for a more productive and dependable player.

The offseason will see major roster changes. Still, changing the major players won’t be easily decided.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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