Redskins pick up Kerrigan option

The Washington Redskins waited a long time, but they finally made a move that was expected.

The team picked up the fifth-year option on linebacker Ryan Kerrigan's contract Friday, something general manager Bruce Allen strongly hinted earlier in the week would happen.

Washington will pay Kerrigan, the 16th overall pick in the 2011 draft, approximately $7.03 million in 2015. He counts $2.774 million toward the salary cap this season.

Kerrigan has provided steady production mixed with some big plays in his first three seasons. He recorded 24.5 sacks in his first three years, with 8.5 in each of the past two. He also has returned two interceptions for touchdowns and forced 10 fumbles.

He needed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after the season, though he wasn't sure if the issue impacted his play in 2013. Kerrigan started strong, with 6.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in his first seven games, but he went the next six games without a sack and forced only one fumble in the last nine.

"It wasn't a pain thing," Kerrigan said. "It was more of a functionality thing. It wasn't as explosive; the flexibility was a little gone because there was some swelling in there. I didn't feel it was too much of a hindrance."

The Redskins have always liked Kerrigan's game, particularly his high motor and growing versatility. The coaches say they'll let the pass-rushers loose more often this coming season -- specifically Kerrigan and fellow outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. The presence of Jason Hatcher inside should benefit both.