Baldinger says WFT should do whatever it can to keep Scherff originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Besides figuring out the answer at the quarterback position, finding a way to sign right guard Brandon Scherff to a long-term deal should be atop the offseason priority list for the Washington Football Team.
Scherff, 28, is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career after turning in an All-Pro season in 2020. Washington has the cap space to keep the former first-round pick, No. 5 overall in 2015, long-term, but Ron Rivera and his staff must determine how much they are willing to pay him on an annual basis.
Speaking on 106.7 The Fan's B-Mitch and Finlay show on Thursday, current NFL Network analyst and former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger was asked about Washington's upcoming decision on Scherff as time runs out before he can hot the open market.
Baldinger said that if he were Washington, he would do "whatever I could" to keep the guard in the nation's capital long-term.
"I want him on my team. I want Scherff playing right guard for me," Baldinger said.
The former offensive lineman immediately addressed Scherff's injury history, which is the main talking point for those who think giving the guard top dollar might not be worth it. In 2020, Scherff missed three games but had been sidelined for 13 contests over the two seasons prior, ending each of the 2018 and 2019 campaigns on Injured Reserve.
However, Baldinger thinks that Scherff's superb play far outweighs any injury concerns when considering signing the 28-year-old to a long-term deal.
"I know he's had some injuries prior to last year. I've got to live with that fact that he's got that history. I need him in the huddle," Baldinger said. "You got to have at least one dog up front. I think he's that guy. Just the way that he plays."
"He had a fantastic season last year," Baldinger added. "I think they ran the ball a lot better than they thought they could with a rookie running back and J.D. McKissic and a bunch of other guys."
Run blocking might be Scherff's strength, but he's also greatly improved as one of the best pass-blocking guards in the NFL, too. According to Pro Football Focus, Scherff graded out as the sixth-best run-blocker at his position but the third-best guard at pass blocking. Additionally, Scherff was the only guard to have an 82.5 grade or higher in both categories.
If Washington does let Scherff hit the open market, he'll have plenty of suitors. Baldinger mentioned the Jets as a possible landing spot, but any team that has cap space and is in need of offensive line help will likely inquire about Scherff.
Washington could always franchise tag Scherff should they not be able to come to a long-term deal.
But, since Scherff played under the tag in 2020, his salary after signing the tender in 2021 would be nearly $18 million. That's far too expensive for Washington (or any team) to pay for a guard, and signing Scherff to a long-term contract would likely come with a lower annual value.
Considering all these factors, it seems like Scherff will either be extended long-term or hit the open market. Baldinger doesn't think the latter should even be an option for Washington.
"I would do whatever I could to keep Scherff in town. Somebody is going to offer him if they don't," Baldinger said. "They can still build that line, but I can't let Scherff out of town. I can't do it."