Ryan Kerrigan hasn’t officially been cut… yet. He’ll more than likely be a cap casualty after being with the Redskins for his entire eight-year career. He is owed over $11 million in 2020 but will generate no dead cap if let go, and he finds himself on the wrong side of 30 (will be 32 next season). I don’t see a four-win Washington team paying an aging OLB $11.7 million next season, and I don’t see Kerrigan taking much of a pay cut for one of the worst franchises in the NFL. Nearing the end of his career, it’s about time he finally got the chance to play with a contender, and I think he would be a perfect bargain candidate for the Falcons.
Our very own Alex Lord did a piece on free agent pass rushers the Falcons can afford in free agency. Remember, Atlanta doesn’t have the luxury to go after top-tier free agents, so they will have to wait for things to play out a little before making their move. Ryan Kerrigan wasn’t on that list – because he’s not technically a free-agent – but he fits the mold of what the Falcons should be looking for ideally. He only notched 5.5 sacks and forced a fumble before going on IR after Week 14 last year (12 games). But Kerrigan has 90 sacks for his career and had 13 sacks in back-to-back years not long ago (2017 & 2018), and I don’t think he’s finished quite yet.
32 isn’t exactly an edge rusher’s golden year, but Kerrigan has been steady and productive throughout his whole career. With a hole in the roster left by Vic Beasley and De’Vondre Campbell’s likely departures, making a move for Kerrigan on a one year “prove it” deal or a two-year incentive-laden pact makes a ton of sense with Atlanta’s limited cap space. Getting to the quarterback has been a huge issue, and it’s more than likely going to be addressed in the draft, but Kerrigan is the perfect compliment to whoever the Falcons pick due to his steady presence, and Lord knows Atlanta needs to add multiple bodies that can rush the passer.
Excluding this last injury-riddled season, Kerrigan has never dipped below 7.5 sacks, 9 TFL, and 2 Forced Fumbles in a season (this was all in his rookie year.) Three times he has had over 13 sacks, and he recorded 10+ TFL every season from 2012-2018. Kerrigan led the league in TFL in 2016 with 18 and led the league in forced fumbles in 2014 with 5; he’s never really had a down year except for 2019.
If Kerrigan is cut, the Falcons should have no bones parting with Campbell and Beasley while scooping the long-time Redskin on a deal. This is a moderately risky but high reward opportunity to get this team the help they desperately need at the EDGE position.