Brandon Scherff is finally getting a long-term contract. The Washington Commanders’ standout offensive guard — who ranks 17th on Pro Football Network’s Top 50 Free Agent Rankings — has played under the franchise tag in each of the last two seasons. But eight years into an NFL career that includes some of the top OL stats, Scherff will have control over his professional destiny as a free agent for the first time.
Brandon Scherff Free Agency Overview
Expect a robust market for a five-time Pro Bowler who has committed just 3 holding penalties total in the last two years. But both Scherff and the Commanders have expressed a desire to keep him in Washington.
Recapping Scherff’s 2021 season
With Scherff, the only question is about availability. When healthy, he’s one of the best players in the NFL, regardless of position. But 2021 marked the third time in four seasons that he missed at least five games. Scherff appeared in just 11 of a possible 17 contests last season due to an MCL injury and a positive COVID-19 test.
Still, that didn’t prevent voters from naming Scherff to the Pro Bowl for the third straight season and the fifth time in six years. His strength, technique, and agility were a big reason why Washington averaged 121.2 rushing yards per game. And his pass protection was characteristically excellent. Scherff didn’t allow a sack in 2021.
Scherff’s contract estimate and salary cap implications
Scherff has $66.8 million in career earnings — including more than $45 million over the last three years. That’s a staggering sum for an interior lineman who has yet to make it to his second contract. Scherff played under the fifth-year option ($12.5 million) in 2019 and the franchise tag each of the last two seasons ($15 million in 2020, $18 million in 2021).
But it makes zero sense for the Commanders to tag him again. His salary under that situation would be north of $25 million — which is mid-tier quarterback money. Tagging Scherff would eat up all but $5 million of Washington’s available cap space. Which means it’s a long-term deal or bust. Spotrac estimates Scherff’s market value at $38.9 million over three years, which would make him the NFL’s sixth-highest paid guard in terms of AAV ($12.9 million).
Possible landing spots for Scherff
The New York Jets make so much sense for Scherff. They had the NFL’s sixth-worst run-block win rate last year, and with $44.7 million in cap space, just five teams have more money to spend.
But they will have competition should they decide to pursue Scherff. The Carolina Panthers ($17.8 million in projected cap space), Baltimore Ravens ($9.8 million), San Francisco 49ers ($3 million), and New York Giants (-$11.4 million) also have needs at the position.
What they’re saying
“I’d love to be here, and I hope I can end my career here. I said that the last couple of times, and that’s always the goal for me, is to kind of finish where you started.” — Brandon Scherff, on remaining with the Washington Commanders.
“Fans should know we made every effort to get something done, and we’ll continue to work on that. We made an offer for him to be the highest-paid offensive guard in the history of the NFL. We’ll keep that dialogue to see where things go.” — Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew.
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast
Listen to the PFN Dolphins Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Dolphins Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Dolphins Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.