Mike Jones of the Washington Post reports that the Redskins and impending free agent ILB Perry Riley have held “initial negotiation talks” regarding a long-term contract extension. However, Jones’ source added that a deal “doesn’t appear imminent” at this point in time.
Jones also spoke with two “league insiders” who believe Riley could be targeting a similar contract to the one handed out to Dannell Ellerbe last year by the Miami Dolphins.
Ellerbe, 27 at the time, signed a five-year contract worth $34.75 million which included $14 million guaranteed last year. The Ravens were hoping to retain him, but ultimately couldn’t compete with the Dolphins financially.
Riley, 25, is coming off of a season in which he tallied 115 tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery. There is still room for growth with Riley, but he has had some issues with stopping the run.
According to Pro Football Focus, Riley rates as the No. 46 inside linebacker out of 55 qualifying players with London Fletcher coming in at No. 55. Both of them were well below average in run defense, but Riley did show at least some ability to get to the quarterback as an inside rusher.
Washington will finally have cap space to work with this offseason, but you have to wonder whether or not retaining Riley at this price tag would be the best use of their available cap space. There is still a chance that Riley’s asking price could come down a bit if he were to test the open market, but it’s hard to say for certain given that there isn’t a ton of quality inside linebackers available in free agency.
This is certainly an interesting situation to monitor if you happen to be a Redskins fan.