Temple Owls: Matt Ioannidis gives Washington hope for the future

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

While the Washington Redskins may be among the worst teams in the NFL, ex-Temple Owls lineman Matt Ioannidis is among the team’s lone bright spots.

The Washington Redskins are a bad football team.

The owners of a 1-7 records thanks in large part due to a putrid 99-195 point differential, the team is on their second head coach in as many months – with another all but certainly on the way post-Black Monday.

With a stagnant offense, an oft-injured running back, and no real identity on defense, there isn’t a whole lot to be excited about our nation’s capital – but a whole lot doesn’t mean none.

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While things are pretty dire for the NFC East’s least successful team, their roster isn’t devoid of talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Between Quinton Dunbar, Landon Collins, Montez Sweat, and the reanimated corpse of Josh Norman, Washington has a few players worth watching, but none has been more exciting thus far than Temple Owls alum Matt Ioannidis.

A fifth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Ioannidis may not be a household name, but he more than makes up for it with grit, grind, and a hard-nosed, dare I say ‘hog molly’ mentality in the trenches. Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, Ioannidis’ has been on a roll over the last month – leading the team with 2.5 sacks and 21 tackles since October 6th.

Playing an average of 54 snaps a game lined up predominantly at left defensive end in Greg Manusky‘s base 3-4 scheme, Ioannidis has become a defensive force on the interior to the point where opposing offensive coordinators have started to deploy double-teams to slow him down – the ultimate sign of respect for a pass rusher.

That’s right, despite sharing snaps with consecutive Alabama first-round selections Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne, it’s Ioannidis, of AAC stalwarts the Temple Owls that has become Washington’s signature defensive player, even if his current contract suggests otherwise.

After putting up 7.5 sacks as a third-year pro, Ioannidis signed a three-year, $21.75 million to remain with Washington through the 2022 season. While his average salary-per-season is among the highest on the team at $7.25 million, he’s only guaranteed $14 million of that and could be released with only $3 million of dead money after next season.

But based on his current level of production, that probably won’t happen.

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No, if Matt Ioannidis’ last 20 games are of any indication, he may actually demand more money before his current deal comes to its completion, as his production has far outperformed an average starters salary. Or better yet, the Washington Redskins may believe the 25-year-old run-stuffer is a luxury for a team in the midst of a lengthy rebuild, and they could opt to trade him to a contender – either way, the future looks incredibly bright for the former Temple Owls defender.