Regardless, Settle was an important part of Washington's run defense, earning a career-best OFF grade (69.3, 43rd among DTS) to back up the career highs for sacks and tackles. He should be back in a similar role in 2021, the fourth and final season of his rookie contract.
Everett opened the season seeing nearly all of his work on special teams, after playing only 173 defensive snaps in 23 games between 2018 and 2019. He then moved into a starting job Week 6, taking over for a slumping Troy Ape at free safety.
A week later, strong safety Landon Collins suffered a torn Achilles, opening up a spot for rookie Karen Curl alongside Everett. The seventh-round pick became an IDP asset, while Everett averaged only 4.7 tackles in six starts before suffering a season-ending injury (pectoral) of his own.
He'll turn 29 in February and has two seasons remaining on his contract, but there is some chance Washington releases Everett this off season -- a move that would clear out approximately $1.4 million in cap space. Ape started seven of 16 games during the 2020 season, recording 35 tackles (25 solo) and two pass defenses.
Given that Landon Collins (Achilles), Despair Everett (pectoral) and Jeremy Leaves also made starts at safety, Ape could be on the roster bubble heading into 2021, the final season of his rookie contract. To this point in his career, the 2018 fourth-round pick hasn't shown coverage skills to match his 4.34 speed.
Payne's involvement in a bunch of turnovers was a new development, but his stats otherwise looked similar to the prior two seasons. The 2018 first-round pick even then added two sacks in Washington's lone playoff game, finishing with OFF's No.
While he may not be the superstar some envisioned a few years ago, Payne is locked in as a reliable starter and should be back to handle the same role in 2021. Washington can pick up a fifth-year option this off season to extend his contract through 2022, with the salary guaranteed for injury only.
Miller played one game during the 2020 season, suiting up for the Bears in Week 10 and catching two passes for six yards. Coming back from his summer 2019 knee injury, Miller signed with the Patriots in August but was then released in early September.
He later spent time with Chicago and Washington, logging a grand total of five snaps. The veteran running back can become an unrestricted free agent in March, a month before his 30th birthday.
Warren bounced back and forth between Washington's practice squad during the 2020 campaign but managed to suit up once in Week 15. After playing just two snaps on special teams, the drafted rookie will look to build his numbers in the upcoming year with Washington.
Leaves started three of his nine games in 2020, recording 25 tackles (15 solo), two pass defenses, one sack and one interception. The third-year pro had 10 tackles in the playoff loss to Tampa Bay and finished as OFF's No.
Leaves, Everett, Karen Curl and Landon Collins (Achilles) are all under contract with Washington for at least one more season, so the team has a few different options for handling the safety spots in 2021. It remains to be seen if Leaves' solid performance over a small sample will be enough to put him in the mix for a starting job.
Moreland started five of 16 games in 2020, recording 44 tackles (33 solo), one interception and one forced fumble on 599 defensive snaps. The 2019 seventh-round pick has largely served as Washington's slot corner through two pro seasons, and while nobody will mistake him for a shutdown cover man, Moreland probably did enough to keep the same role in 2021.
Sweat had a team-high nine sacks in 2020, adding 45 tackles (28 solo), six pass defenses, two forced fumbles and an interception returned for a touchdown. The 2020 performance wasn't exactly a breakout, but Sweat did finish with two more sacks (nine) and seven more QB hits (20) than the previous year, earning OFF's 11th-best grade (80.0) out of 112 qualified edge rushers.
It'll be an easy choice for Washington to pick up that option if Sweat's 2021 campaign looks anything like his 2020 output. Fuller played 14 games in 2020, recording 50 tackles (38 solo), 11 pass defenses and four interceptions on 892 snaps.
Traded from Washington to Kansas City in 2018, the Maryland native re-signed with his original team last off season on a four-year, $40 million contract. Fuller lived up to the deal in Year 1, playing 99.2 percent of defensive snaps in his 14 active games and leading the team in interceptions.
He also has experience playing safety and Nickelback, so it's possible he'll find more tackle opportunities in 2021, though it might require a teammate missing time with an injury. Washington more than got its money's worth on a one-year, $3 million contract, so it'll likely be far more expensive if the team wants to keep Darby around for 2021 and beyond.
Granted, other franchises may have some concerns about his medical history, as the 27-year-old corner back played just 28 games in his three seasons (2017-19) with the division-rival Eagles. Pierre-Louis started 11 of his 13 games in 2020, recording 56 tackles (36 solo), two pass defenses, one sack and one forced fumble.
Pierre-Louis opened the year in a three-down role, piling up 20 tackles on 142 snaps over the first two weeks of the season. He kept his job in Washington's base defense for most of the year, but it was Cole Holcomb who got most of the nickel work alongside Jon Basic in the second half of the season.
Over the previous three years, however, the UNL product suited up in 27 games (four starts) between the Dolphins and Bengals, recording 34 tackles and three pass breakups. Allen was a 16-game starter in 2020, notching 63 tackles (63 solo) and two sacks while playing 77.4 percent of defensive snaps.
While a lack of sacks may give the appearance of a disappointing season, Allen was fourth on the team in tackles and second in QB hits (14), grading out as OFF's No. The new role may not have been ideal for IDP purposes, but Allen's versatility was crucial to Washington fielding a top-10 defense, so he'll likely stick around for 2021 under the fifth-year option on his rookie contract.
His long-term future in D.C. remains shaky, as Washington's collection of young talent is strongly skewed toward the defensive line. Holcomb often worked in a three-down role, closing out the year with at least seven tackles and a 73 percent snap share in six consecutive games.
His rate of one tackle for every 7.7 snaps hints at considerable IDP value if his role from November-January carries over to his third pro season in 2021. Curl finished his 2020 rookie season with 88 tackles (63 solo), four pass defenses, three interceptions and two sacks in 16 games.
The seventh-round pick made 11 starts and finished second on the team in tackles, handling a three-down role from Week 9 onward. He and Landon Collins (Achilles) could give Washington a formidable duo at safety in 2021, assuming the veteran makes a smooth recovery from his season-ending injury.
Curl's IDP value could take a hit with Collins healthy, as the 27-year-old's comfort level playing up in the box could force his teammate into more snaps as a deep safety. Basic finished the 2020 season with 118 tackles (61 solo), three sacks, three pass defenses and one interception in 16 games.
He still hasn't shown a ton of play making ability, but Basic did have career highs for tackles and sacks in 2020, occupying a key role in one of the better defenses in the league. He'll turn 30 in May and has one year remaining on his contract with Washington, scheduled for a $1.64 million base salary.