As a team on the rise, the Washington Football Team has young players on both sides of the football that the team hopes will eventually lead this team back to the Super Bowl.
The assortment of talent is there because the team has drafted well over the past few years, but these players aren't getting younger and eventually it will be time to pay them, which limits the amount of talent the team can put on the field.
Washington is already feeling the burden of these decisions and it is only going to get worse as young stars like Terry McLaurin and Da'Ron Payne hit the open market in 2023.
The decisions the team makes now will effect those decisions the team will have to make down the line, which makes these free agent decisions just as important.
Here are five Washington players that can make a splash on the open market with strong performances this season:
1) G Brandon Scherff
Scherff will enter the 2022 offseason as one of the biggest free agents in football. Washington has tried everything they can to hold on to Scherff as long as possible, placing the franchise tag on the four-time Pro Bowler for the second consecutive year.
This is very likely Scherff's last season in Washington unless there is a miraculous breakthrough in contract talks. However, the team and Scherff's representatives have yet to agree on anything for the second offseason in a row.
Should Scherff continue to be one of the top interior linemen in the game this season, another team is going to make him one of the highest paid offensive linemen in the history of the game.
2) DT Jonathan Allen
Allen is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, which gives him a massive pay raise from his first four seasons. This season, Allen is set to make just over $10 million, more than his entire NFL salary to date.
This means that Allen is likely going to warrant something closer to that $10 million this offseason, especially as he ascends into his prime. Allen will turn 27 by the time he negotiates for his next contract and the franchise tag might be a legitimate option if the team cannot sign him long term.
Given his importance to the defensive line, signing Allen in the offseason should be one of WFT's biggest priorities, especially if he balls out again this season.
3) TE Logan Thomas
Rivera Reveals What Washington D is Missing
Winning buys some time, but a tough match-up in Week 3 requires answers
LISTEN: Is WFT Offense Underrated?
Locked On Washington: Washington Football Team Friday Analysis After Beating New York Giants 30-29
Does Washington Football Team Have its Quarterback Going forward?
At least one WFT player believes the QB position is set.
Thomas was arguably the biggest surprise for Washington last season. The former college quarterback finally began seeing consistent snaps at the tight end position and it led to his most successful season in his professional career.
Thomas caught 72 passes for 670 yards and six touchdowns last season and appears to be an important piece to the puzzle on offense again this season.
If Thomas can remain productive, he's likely going to get a hefty contract from an NFL team.
It'll be hard for Washington to be that team if he overperforms considering the need to sign Scherff and/or Allen, but playing well this season is important for Thomas if he wants his unpredictable NFL career to continue.
4) WR Cam Sims
As an exclusive rights free agent this past offseason, Sims received a solid raise from the team that signed him out of Alabama in 2018's undrafted free agency.
Sims had his most successful year to date in 2020, catching 32 passes for 477 yards and a score, but it was his performance in the Wild Card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that likely prompted WFT to keep him.
Sims was targeted 13 times and caught seven passes for 104 yards. It was very apparent after watching that game that Sims and QB Taylor Heinicke built a strong rapport through practicing together all season long.
With Heinicke possibly handling QB1 duties this season, Sims could play a significant role in the offense. However, it won't be easy, as he'll have to work through newcomers Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries on the depth chart. If he can wiggle his way onto the field and show out, Sims could have a handsome check written in his name this offseason.
5) QB Kyle Allen
While Kyle Allen isn't even a guarantee to make the NFL roster, it's hard to forget that Ron Rivera wanted him so badly that he was willing to part ways with a fifth-round pick for him.
Allen struggled to stay on the field last season due to injuries, but there's always a chance the injury bug could bite again in 2021.
In this league, all quarterbacks need is one shot, and that one shot could lead to a lot of money. Take Matt Flynn for example, or even Brock Osweiler, or his teammate Taylor Heinicke.
If Allen can find himself one more opportunity, he could play himself into his biggest payday yet.
CONTINUE READING: Who Leads Washington Race For No. 2 Tight End?