Extensions worth a mention: WFT agrees to terms with Jonathan Allen and Logan Thomas
Just days before the first day of training camp, Washington was able to lock up key pieces of both sides of the ball. Ron Rivera, and the Washington front office were able to reach contract extensions with defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, and tight end Logan Thomas.
On Monday, Washington emphasized the defensive identity they are looking to continue building as time goes on as they extended Allen to a new four-year contract worth 72 million dollars. This deal also included a 30 million dollar signing bonus. Allen now becomes the first Washington player since Ryan Kerrigan on the defensive line to receive a second contract with the team.
Allen was drafted 17th overall out of Alabama in 2017, and has proven to be one of the top interior lineman in all of the NFL. In 2020 alone, Allen finished tied for second among D-lineman with 30 run stops. The combination of Allen and Daron Payne, has made Washington one of the toughest teams to run against in all of the NFL. Allen is also no stranger to the sack. Although he only had 2 in 2020, in 2018 Allen recorded 8 sacks in just his second season in the league.
The reason this extension is so significant for Washington, is for the power this defensive line can hold for years to come. The front seven now holds four first round picks since 2017. Yes, four first rounders. Washington finished the season 7-9 last season and emerged as NFC East division champions. Yes, on paper that doesn’t seem impressive. However, Washington’s defense finished 2nd ranked in the entire league. The defense on average allowed 20.6 Points per game which was fourth best in the NFL. Also, Washington allowed 304.5 YPG which was best in the league. If it weren’t for lack of offensive production, Washington would have been able to win a lot more games last season.
With emerging stars such as Chase Young, Montez Sweat, and Daron Payne, Allen can now serve as the leader of this defense which will be a force for years to come. With some new additions on offense, this Washington team is now starting to look legit.
Speaking of offense, Washington was able to lock up Logan Thomas to a three-year extension. Thomas turned a lot of heads this season as the former quarterback was able to have a career season with Washington. In his first year as a starting tight end, Thomas racked up a career high 72 receptions, 670 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. Thomas also proved to be solid as a blocker for Washington and was able to create some big holes on screen passes and running plays.
For Washington, it’s nice they can finally say they have a bit of stability at tight end since they had been struggling to find that for years now. Ever since Jordan Reed left in free agency, Washington has struggled to find a tight end who could have as much as impact as he did. Even when Reed was here, he often found himself missing major portions of the season with injury.
For someone who had very little experience at the position, Thomas showed a lot of progression throughout the season as he became a key piece to the struggling offense. Against Seattle, Thomas was able to rack up 13 receptions. That’s impressive stuff. Let’s not forget to mention, Washington had one of the worst QB situations in all of the league last season. Washington used four different QB’s in which none of them threw for over 1600 yards over the course of the season. To make Thomas look even better, he finished with the highest completion percentage on team completing his only pass of the season, a 28-yard strike to Terry Mclaurin on a trick play.
With the addition of Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, Thomas will be able to have a more reliable passer who won’t be afraid to stretch the field. Also, the increased depth at wide-receiver with the additions of Curtis Samuel and Adam Humphries will be a major help for Thomas next season. The more threats the defense have to worry about, the more chances it will give for Thomas to get open and make plays down field. Although Thomas is still not considered experienced at the position, his quick progression shows tremendous signs of him developing into a very serviceable tight end for the next few seasons.
The 2021 season is going to be one of the biggest seasons for this team in a long time. Coming off a division championship, Washington has made a lot of moves this off-season to continue building this new culture and improving as a whole. With the uncertainty of the other NFC East teams, this is a great opportunity for Washington to become the first team to win back to back division championships since the Eagles did in 2004.
Rivera has done a great job thus far building this team. Extending Allen and Thomas is just the start of things to come for this franchise. Hopefully in the next few years, we will see this team with even more of these defensive players locked up and wearing the new team-name and logo too be revealed in early 2022. Hail to the… Washington Football team? For now…