What Ryan Kerrigan brings to the Eagles defensive line

NFL: JAN 09 NFC Wild Card – Buccaneers at Washington Football Team
LANDOVER, MD – JANUARY 09: Washington Football Team defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (91) warms up prior to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wild Card game versus the Washington Football Team on January 9, 2021 at FedEx Field in Landover, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

In a very surprising move to start the week, it was revealed that the Philadelphia Eagles are signing veteran pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan on a one-year deal. Washington’s franchise leader in sacks will remain in the division but play for the team he spent years terrorizing.


Kerrigan is now 32-years-old and for Washington, the past few years have been all about getting younger. Their pass-rush has been revamped with players such as Chase Young and Montez Sweat and in Ron Rivera’s first season as Head Coach, that movement took priority. Kerrigan’s snaps were slashed down to just 37% and he posted a lonely 5.5 sacks for the second year in a row, a long way down from his three consecutive seasons of 11+ and four pro bowl nods.

Kerrigan will likely see an increased role in Philadelphia given their youth at the position isn’t anywhere near the talent level that Washington possesses. The Eagles are rebuilding their defensive line and in terms of a long-term plan, it’s going to take a while to see the fruits of their labour. Players like Tarron Jackson and Patrick Johnson could be fun projects, but the team lost Vinny Curry this past offseason and outside of Josh Sweat, there is no real proven depth behind an ageing Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett who is on a contract year.

Kerrigan is a great addition to this new Minnesota-like defense and the Eagles have specifically sought proven veterans at a number of spots this offseason to come in and hold the line while the next generation develop. Kerrigan could be the ultimate bang-for-your-buck option here at a position where it’s low-risk, high-reward players with the long-term in mind.

His addition should provide plenty of explosiveness and take the pressure off of this years’ draftees, while injecting a real sense of competition for snaps – something that Head Coach Nick Sirianni has been keen to implement since his arrival earlier this year.

Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire