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Washington Football Team 2021 free-agency outlook

Washington has a big decision to make on quarterback Alex Smith as well as Brandon Scherff, one of the premier offensive linemen in the NFL.

Washington Football Team v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Washington Football Team emerged as the winner of the NFC East in 2020, a somewhat surprising development given the club won just three games the previous season. That division title comes with several caveats, as Washington did not finish with a winning record and injuries ravaged the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, two of the NFC East’s other members. More importantly, the trip to the playoffs alters the outlook for Washington’s offseason.

As with numerous franchises, Washington faces huge questions under center this offseason. Alex Smith miraculously returned from a life-threatening health crisis to start most of the second half of the season. Given Smith’s age (37 in May) and cap number (currently $23.3 million for 2021), Washington has to consider all of its options. At the same time, Smith played well enough for the team to win all but one of his six starts and he could provide a bridge to the next quarterback, possibly one that could arrive in the upcoming draft.

Lost revenue due to COVID-19 will impact every team. However, with so many free agents, the league-wide drop in salary-cap space could make things difficult. The 2020 number came in around $198 million with the 2021 number potentially falling to $176 to $180 million, according to Over The Cap, but is subject to change.

Options for franchise/transition tags

Last year, Washington used the franchise tag on right guard Brandon Scherff. While the two sides couldn’t work out a long-term agreement, the decision proved to be prudent for the team. Scherff delivered the best season of his career, earning first-team All-Pro honors for his efforts. Franchising Scherff again would cost significantly more. However, Washington has the salary-cap space available to absorb the hit while continuing to work on a multiyear contract.

Salary cap

Estimated 2021 cap space (Feb. 5): $35,125,824

2021 transactions

Free-agent signings


Free-agent departures




Notable unrestricted free agents

* Denotes Restricted Free Agent (RFA)

Washington 2021 Free Agents

Pos Player 2020 Team 2021 Team
Pos Player 2020 Team 2021 Team
QB Taylor Heinicke* Washington
RB Lamar Miller Washington
WR Cam Sims* Washington
WR Robert Foster* Washington
TE Jeremy Sprinkle Washington
RT David Sharpe Washington
RG Brandon Scherff Washington
EDGE Ryan Kerrigan Washington
EDGE Ryan Anderson Washington
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis Washington
LB Thomas Davis Washington
LB Mychal Kendricks Washington
LB Jared Norris Washington
LB Reuben Foster Washington
CB Ronald Darby Washington
CB Fabian Moreau Washington
CB Danny Johnson* Washington
LS Nick Sundberg Washington
K Dustin Hopkins Washington