Washington isn't completely closing door on Ryan Kerrigan reunion after draft

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Ethan Cadeaux
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Washington isn't completely closing door on Kerrigan reunion originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The Washington Football Team has two of the NFL's best young pass rushers in Chase Young and Montez Sweat, but the club's depth at the position behind them is questionable at best.

In 2020, Washington had franchise sack leader Ryan Kerrigan and 2017 second-rounder Ryan Anderson to sub in when Young or Sweat needed a breather. But as it stands now, neither is on the roster, as Kerrigan remains a free agent and Anderson signed with the Giants.

Following the NFL Draft -- one that saw Washington draft two separate edge rushers in the final round -- general manager Martin Mayhew was asked about a potential Kerrigan reunion. And while he didn't mention No. 91 by name, Mayhew said the team is still open to adding a veteran at the position this offseason.

"There will be guys who are released and we’ll keep an eye out for guys on the streets," Mayhew said Saturday. "We’ll probably have some try-out guys during our mini camps. We definitely plan to upgrade that position through the offseason."

As Mayhew said, Washington remains open to adding a veteran and plans to monitor who is available. But, after drafting Baylor's William Bradley-King and Penn State's Shaka Toney, Mayhew and head coach Ron Rivera plan to see what they have in their two late-round picks at the position.

"We drafted these guys with the idea that these guys can contribute this year," Mayhew said.

When free agency began in March, Washington tried to add depth at edge rusher but was unable to sign anyone. Head coach Ron Rivera said on Saturday that the club struggled to get any free agent edge rushers to commit to what they are building in Washington because of the lack of playing time they would receive due to Young and Sweat's presence.

"One of the hardest things we struggled with during free agency was trying to get guys to come and be a part of what we’re trying to do because of the two guys we have [in Young and Sweat]. We have two quality guys," Rivera said.

So, without having any luck signing any veterans, Washington traded with the Eagles on Day 3 of the draft to acquire two more 2021 selections, one of which was used on Bradley-King. 

"We felt we had to get the depth and so we went out and made the move that we did to ensure the opportunity and low and behold the two guys we had slated for being available were there and we chose them back-to-back for that reason," Rivera said. 

Based on both Mayhew and Rivera's comments, it appears that both Bradley-King and Toney will have a legitimate chance to make the team's Week 1 roster. Besides Young and Sweat, the team also has James Smith-Williams in the mix from the 2020 season.

So, while Kerrigan remains available in free agency, Washington seems committed to seeing what they have in Bradley-King and Toney before thinking about bringing back the 10-year veteran.

"We think both guys are explosive, dynamic young pass rushers that have room to grow and we think both have some upside and they’re going to create instant competition as we go forward," Rivera said.