RICHMOND — Brandon Scherff’s injury on Sunday came at an inopportune time for both himself and the Washington Football Team.
Scherff, who was selected No. 5 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, was a crucial part of an otherwise weak offensive line this season in Washington.
Playing at right guard, Scherff and right tackle Morgan Moses were supposed to be the sure thing in a season of question marks, protecting quarterback Dwayne Haskins and giving him time to complete throws.
Instead there will be one more unknown, as rookie Wes Schweitzer likely fills the role while Scherff recovers.
Scherff was rolled up on when another blocker was pushed into his right knee during Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. On Monday, coach Ron Rivera said the team doctors gave a “positive” report, and Scherff is likely to only miss “a couple of weeks.”
“It was definitely devastating,” Haskins said on Sunday. “He’s one of the leaders of our team and a great player. We’ll have to do the best we can to make up for that.”
New rules for the 2020 season allow a player to go in injured reserve for as few as three weeks, meaning Washington could get another lineman on its 53-man roster in the interim.
That’s the team’s problem, but Scherff himself is arriving at an important juncture of his career.
He played this season on a franchise tag contract worth $15 million, and with a strong season this year, probably could have become the highest paid guard in football when he entered free agency.
Instead, questions about his injuries will likely depress the market, since Scherff has also missed portions of the previous two seasons. That, combined with a salary cap that will be lower because of lost ticket revenue this season, could leave him in limbo this offseason.
Before the season started, he said it wasn’t something he was going to worry about. “I’m just glad I get to play another year here,” he said. “I said my end goal is to end up as a [Washington] player my whole career, and I’m one more year closer to that. I’m just excited for this year, so I’m not really worried about that at all.”
Scherff had his offseason work validated by being named one of the team’s five captains during training camp.