The Redskins have until May 3 to pick up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan’s contract, and general manager Bruce Allen said on Monday that while the team has yet to take action, he anticipated that it will soon.
“The NFL has sort of an unwritten rule that you don’t make decisions until you have to. But obviously, we love Ryan, and we’ll have an announcement soon,” Allen said on Monday before teeing off at the annual Brian Orakpo Leukemia Golf Classic.
The Redskins selected Kerrigan 16th overall in the 2011 draft. He has started every game in the past three seasons, averaging 61 tackles and a shade more than eight sacks per season. Kerrigan, who made the Pro Bowl in 2012, also has tallied a total of 12 turnovers (two interceptions and 10 forced fumbles).
“Ryan, from his first day walking on the field, has been an impact player for us,” Allen said. “I think his first two years, he played 100 percent of the plays and last year he slacked off and went down to about 98 percent, but he’s been a great addition for us and obviously a solid character.”
He has one year remaining on his contract, and would make roughly $1.5 million in 2014. By picking up the fifth-year option on his deal, Washington would ensure that Kerrigan doesn’t hit the free-agent market next offseason. The option would pay Kerrigan $7.38 million for 2015.
Kerrigan, who also played in Orakpo’s tournament on Monday, said that he hadn’t heard anything from the Redskins, but that he remained hopeful that they would pick up the option.
“I haven’t really [thought about it a lot], but as we’ve gotten later in April, I’ve thought about, ‘Oh, crap. May 3rd is coming up. I wonder what’s going to happen?’ ” Kerrigan said. “Either way, [I] can’t let it affect me. … Hopefully they do. I really like it here. Like the team and love the area, so hopefully they do do it. But it they don’t, I signed a four-year contract. I didn’t sign a five-year contract. So I have to honor that contract and play the fourth year just like I would like whether I get a fifth year or not.”
Meanwhile, the Redskins have yet to make a move regarding their other starting outside linebacker. Brian Orakpo has signed his franchise tender but has expressed a desire that the team sign him to a long-term deal rather than letting him play out the year on the franchise tag.
Allen was asked if the team had made any progress on a deal for Orakpo, and he said no, but did indicate that the three-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher remains in the team’s long-term plans.
“No. But I think you’ll notice [today] he’s not going to quit football for golf,” Allen cracked. “But we like Ryan and ’Rak together and think they have a possibility of being a great tandem for years to come, and we’ll see what happens.”
Other notes from the media availability prior to Orakpo’s tournament, which benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:
● Allen and Coach Jay Gruden said they did their homework on wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and have confidence that he will make an impact on the team. They said they had no concerns about any off-field issues with the wide receiver.
● The team on Tuesday will kick off their first minicamp under Gruden. The coach said he’s eager to see the players on the field for the first time.
● Gruden believes the minicamp will further help draft evaluations because he, his assistants and team officials will get the chance to better judge how players do on the field and get somewhat of a better feel for strengths and weaknesses in advance of next week’s NFL Draft.
● Gruden said he has liked everything he has seen and heard from Robert Griffin III during their talks, and during the first two weeks of the offseason program. He described Griffin as “eager” and said that he is working hard to improve physically, and also is immersing himself in the playbook.
● Kerrigan and Orakpo both expect to benefit from the tweaks in the defense, which is expected to allow them to play with more aggression. Kerrigan said the addition of outside linebackers coach Brian Baker will help a great deal. The past four years, Washington hasn’t had a coach that worked with the outside linebackers specifically. The players believe the pass-rushing technician will help their development.
● Orakpo believes that the addition of defensive end Jason Hatcher will also help give the defense a boost.
● Defensive end Stephen Bowen, who had microfracture surgery late in the 2013 season, expressed encouragement over his recovery. He said he has been doing some jogging and controlled sprinting. He believes he will be fully healthy by training camp and expects to contend for a starting job.
● Kory Lichtensteiger said he is working to make the mental adjustment of playing center after starting at left guard the last four seasons. He will now be charged with making the calls along the line. He remains confident that he can make a smooth transition back to his natural position, and has been working to re-sharpen his snapping skills as well.
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