Ryan Kerrigan wants more in 2021. The good news for him is he'll get his shot at acquiring it, seeing as he's set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new NFL league year begins in March. The Washington Football Team can prevent that from happening by agreeing to terms with their beloved pass rusher, but one of those terms would have to include Kerrigan getting the nod as starter once again -- something that's unlikely to happen. There's been a changing of the guard, so to speak, in Washington that now sees rookie first-overall pick Chase Young and former 26th-overall pick Montez Sweat leading the charge off of the edges, with Kerrigan having seen his playing time amputated because of it.
As he eyes free agency this offseason, the 32-year-old is crystal clear in what he hopes to obtain with a new NFL contract, and it's not being relegated to rotational duty.
"I definitely want to be a starter," Kerrigan said, via The Washington Post. "I mean, I think any player would say that. I don't think anybody just wants to settle for being a role player or a reserve player."
That said, he sounds willing to potentially soften his stance just a bit, so long as his new role at least mirrors the amount of playing time a starter would be awarded on any given game day. Moreover, Kerrigan sounds like a man who's conceded that his time in Washington has likely come to an end, essentially sending out an RSVP for all 32 teams to give him a call. The 32-year-old is also looking to play several more years in the league, a hint toward interest in a multi-year deal as opposed to being a one-year stopgap.
So for the first time in his NFL career, Kerrigan will likely don another team's jersey in 2021.
"I've got to really be open-minded to several factors and open-minded to all teams," he added. "And that's kind of what I plan to do. I definitely feel like I've still got a lot of ball in me, a lot of good productive years ahead."
Kerrigan will go down as a legend in Washington after joining the team as the 16th-overall pick in 2011 and going on to earn four Pro Bowl nods over the course of his 10-year career. His 95.5 career sacks are the most-ever in franchise history, and he showed no signs of slowing down in 2020. In a season that saw him available for all 16 regular season games but awarded only one start, Kerrigan was still able to notch 5.5 sacks -- third-most behind Sweat and Young, respectively -- and despite seeing his snap count dwindle to 38 percent, which is far and away the lowest mark of his NFL career.
His rapidly shrinking time is quite obviously a trend and not an anomaly, seeing as he played 79 percent of defensive snaps just two years ago, racking up 13 sacks to match his career-high in the process. All told, there's clearly a ton of tread left on Kerrigan's tires, but because has a new set of performance radials they justifiably want to give burn to, the end of an era in Washington has likely arrived.
"I still feel really good," he said. "Maybe one of the silver linings with playing a lot less snaps this year was my body doesn't really feel too beat up right now. So, hopefully that'll help me maybe add a year or two here on the back end of my career."