By Adam Aniba
Although offseason voluntary OTA's are optional for players, fourth year strong safety Kamren Curl, who is in the final year of his rookie deal was attendance at every session. On the flipside, Chase Young and Montez Sweat who are both free agents in 2024, skipped the voluntary sessions.
Veterans Jonathan Allen, Terry McLaurin and DaRon Payne all received extensions after making little to no noise during the off season, prior to their extensions. Curl seems like the natural choice for the next contract extension.
Nationally Curl is a player who's been flown under the radar, but has emerged as one of the leagues better safeties and a player that is imperative to the success of Washington's defense.
The 24-year-old Curl has 270 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 3 interceptions in his three-year pro career.
Curl's 2022 season got off to a rough start with him missing the first 2 games due to a thumb injury, which occurred during the preseason and required surgery. Although Darrick Forrest emerged as one of Washington's better safeties in Curl's absence, the defense struggled as a unit with the former 7th rounder out of the lineup.
Despite only playing in 12 games, Curl finished '22 3rd on the team for combined tackles with 83, 2nd in solo tackles with 58, 5th for tackles for loss with 6, and recorded 1 sack.
The Commanders finished '22 with the 7th ranked defense in the NFL for points allowed with 20.2 points per game and Curl deserves a substantial portion of the credit.
Curl's accomplishments have been noticed by players around the league and came in ranked #85 on the NFL's Top 100 List
Not all in the national media overlooked Curl with CBS Sports showing praise for the young safety.
"Pay attention. This kid has developed into one of the best young safeties in the game. He's good in both the run and against the pass."
Curl has displayed his versatility during his time under Del Rio, lining up at free safety, slot cornerback and contributing in the box, while occasionally wearing the green dot. His ability to cover elite tight ends and support the run make him a rare breed in this league.
Per Pro Football Focus, Curl came in with a 80.8 grade, which ranked him 7 among NFL safeties. He allowed an open target rate of just 47.2%, which ranked 8th among NFL safeties with at least 25 targets in their coverage area.
Curl’s has a 6% missed tackle rate over the course of two seasons, ranking as the 4th lowest among 99 safeties with at least 50 total tackles over the span. Only 2 safeties earned run-defense and coverage grades of at least 80.0 in '22 with the two being Curl and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Unfortunately a deal as substantial as one for Curl will not happen until the ownership change occurs. The good news is the sale will reportedly happen in only a few weeks (July 20th NFL owners ratify the sale).
Rivera echoed the sentiment during a recent presser.
"Contract extensions are on hold until the team is officially sold".
What Curl's Deal Could Look Like
Despite some speculation that it would cost Washington in the neighborhood of $20M a season to retain Curl, it's more likely the deal comes in at 4-year $60M-$63M with $40M guaranteed.
Although Washington currently has $11.5M in availble cap, signing Curl would be relatively easy with a large chunk dedicated to a signing bonus, leading to a manageable cap number of around $6M-$8M for '23.
Washington heads into a new era with the Josh Harris group taking over operations this month, what better way to kick it off by locking down one of the top safeties in the league.