Richmond, Va., – In only four seasons with the Washington Redskins, Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan views himself as one of the elder statesman on the team. Going into his fifth year with the team, the former Pro Bowler is coming off of a career year compiling 64 tackles, 13.5 sacks (career-high), and 5 forced fumbles (career-high) while playing every game for the team last season.
Last week, he was rewarded for his play with a five-year, $57.5 million contract extension until 2020 with $24.28 million guaranteed making Kerrigan the third-highest paid linebacker in the NFL behind Chiefs Justin Houston (six years, $101 million) and Packers Clay Matthews (five years, $66 million). He’s not feeling any extra pressure on his shoulders to live to his new contract as he just wants to play football and show that he’s worth it.
“I just want to reward the Redskins for placing a lot of faith in me,” Kerrigan said. “I want to give back to them by playing well.”
Kerrigan has improved each season while being in the NFL and that shows in his sack totals from year-to-year (7.5 in 2011, 8.5 in 2012, 8.5 in 2013, and 13.5 in 2014). While he has been racking up impressive individual stats, he knows it is about the team first and he looks forward to working with the other guys on the team.
“It’s my job to help the other guys along,” Kerrigan said. “It’s a role that I have enjoyed.”
Every team in the NFL that plays the Redskins this season will have to know when Number 91 is at all times. However, with all of the new weapons on defense (Junior Galette, Stephen Paea, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Terrance Knighton), it will be harder for opposing offenses to put all of their focus on Kerrigan when so many other players are capable of bringing down the quarterback.