Eagles’ Ryan Kerrigan still has something left, says Washington reporter

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Washington reporter still thinks Ryan Kerrigan has plenty left in tank originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles on Monday agreed to terms with 32-year-old defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, which begs one major question:

How much does he have left?

To answer that question, we brought in NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay, who has covered Kerrigan for a long time and witnessed his decrease in playing time in 2020.

“I think he could have a double-digit sack season left,” Finlay said on the latest Eagle Eye podcast. “He takes elite care of his body. I think he finished last year with 5 1/2 sacks and he was not playing much. He really didn’t get much usage. He did get a couple games where Chase Young was out. I think he wants to prove he still has it. It’s going to be about opportunity. I’d almost ask you guys how much opportunity is he going to get, especially in clear passing situations. Because he wasn’t getting that.”

If it’s all about opportunity, it’s fair to wonder how much Kerrigan will get in 2021 with the Eagles. Last season, he played all 16 games and played 397 snaps (24.8 per game). The Eagles still have Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat atop their rotation.

Finlay raved about Kerrigan as a player on the field and a teammate in the locker room. He said he’s never heard anyone say a bad thing about him.

“I realize I’m painting this incredibly rosy picture but I think the Eagles got a steal here,” Finlay said. “He’s not the player he was. I wouldn’t expect 13 sacks. Maybe my double digit sacks is a little rose-colored glasses just because it’s a person I like a lot.”

Kerrigan in 2020, despite playing just 397 snaps, still finished his season with 5 1/2 sacks, which means he had a sack every 72.2 snaps.

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ top pass rushers in the same category last season:

Josh Sweat: Sack every 70.2 snaps (6 in 421)

Brandon Graham: Sack every 94.8 snaps (8 in 758)

Derek Barnett: Sack every 97.3 snaps (5 1/2 in 535)

Vinny Curry: Sack every 103.3 snaps (3 in 310)

It’s hard to see this Kerrigan signing and not think back to the move the Eagles made to bring in Chris Long for the 2017 season. A pass rusher over 30, probably past his peak, but with something left in the tank as a rotational player.

And all offseason we’ve heard new head coach Nick Sirianni preach about competition. That seems to fit Kerrigan.

“I don’t think there’s any question he’ll compete every snap, every rep in practice,” Finlay said. “I think especially now. He’s never been a chip on his shoulder guy and one thing I like about him is that he’s never been inauthentic to try to play up stuff to the media or fans or anything like that. He’s always himself, kind of even-keeled, low-key. But he’s a hyper competitive dude. I think it ate at him that he wasn’t on the field. I think he wants to be on the field.”

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