The Washington Redskins have offered a contract to free agent outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who missed the entire 2017 season after injuring his ACL last August.
#Redskins have extended contract offer to Trent Murphy, per sources. Nothing done yet though
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) March 11, 2018
Murphy, a 2014 second round pick who didn’t impress his first two seasons in the NFL, had a breakout performance in 2016 with nine sacks. However, Murphy faced a four-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs to start 2017.
(If you’re wondering if Murphy will still have to serve a 4-game suspension in 2018, he will not. Even though his injury forced Murphy to miss the entire 2017 season, he technically served his suspension in 2017, as well. Therefore, he will not have to miss any time in 2018 due to the suspension.)
With Murphy and OLB Junior Galette both hitting free agency in 2018 and starting OLB Preston Smith a free agent in 2019, the Skins need to retain at least one of those pass rushers and Galette is widely believed to be disenchanted with his experience and playing time in Washington and determined to play elsewhere in 2018.
Murphy’s 6’5″ frame allows him to play the rangy outside ‘backer or beef up and play defensive end, something the Skins wanted him to do before Galette’s 2016 injury forced the team to change course. Keeping Murphy as a third outside pass-rusher (behind Smith and Ryan Kerrigan) would be a smart move by the Redskins, particularly since Smith is likely to attract big offers in 2019 and might not be back with the team that drafted him.
Due to his injury and the fact that his next drug suspension, if there is one, will be for a full season, Murphy’s asking price shouldn’t be too high for the Skins. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s forced to sign a one-year “prove it” deal for something like $4 million. Murphy might even prefer such an arrangement, assuming he believes in himself and thinks he will be able to cash in bigger in 2019.
Meanwhile, the team needs to keep developing 2018 second round pick Ryan Anderson, an outside linebacker who made little impression in his rookie season, but was a menace to quarterbacks and running backs during his college career at Alabama.