Jhabvala reported Washington might consider using the franchise tag on Scherff in the event the two sides can't work out a deal.
Because he spent the 2020 season on the tag, the 29-year-old would earn a little more than $18 million on the franchise tender in 2021.
Although that's a big short-term investment in an offensive guard, the alternative is a contract that sets a new standard at the position. Brandon Brooks' $14.1 million average salary is the highest for a guard, per Spotrac. Jhabvala reported Scherff could command $15 million-plus annually.
Scherff hasn't played a full season since 2016—most recently missing three games due to an MCL sprain—but that will do little to dampen his value on the open market. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the ninth-best free agent on the board:
"One of the most dependable guards in the league, Scherff has never posted a PFF grade below 72.5 in his six-year NFL career. Over the last three seasons, Scherff ranks among the league’s best guards in nearly every key metric, including a 97th percentile ranking on true pass sets and 90th percentile ranking in percentage of positively graded plays. Both numbers are among the most important when projecting interior offensive linemen from year to year."
No matter how things shake out, Scherff is poised to collect a nice payday. Given his recent injury history, he's presumably looking to maximize his earning power now because his value may never be higher.
Having already allowed its relationship with Trent Williams to sour to the point of trading him to the San Francisco 49ers, Washington can ill afford to lose an elite lineman for a second consecutive year.
Perhaps Scherff can use that to his advantage at the negotiating table.