The Washington Redskins biggest priority to re-sign this offseason is star outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, who is one of the best impending free agents available. There aren’t many edge rushers who put pressure on the quarterback with as much consistency as Orakpo, and he is easily the team’s best player on defense. Both he and Ryan Kerrigan form one of the league’s best 3-4 outside linebacker duos, and both players are also adept at stopping the run.
There are some Redskins fans who are worried that the team will overpay for Orakpo, as they don’t feel that he’s made enough game-changing plays. I think that’s a flawed way to evaluate a pass rusher, because it doesn’t put enough of a focus on his main job- to rush the passer. Orakpo is one of the best in the game at making a quarterback feel uncomfortable, and I’m sure Jim Haslett and the Redskins organization value that.
Or do they? Yesterday, the Washington Post’s Mike Jones reported that Orakpo still hasn’t received an “official” contract offer from the Redskins, leading us to believe that they are either prepared to franchise him or let him walk. Maybe the Redskins have made “unofficial” offers in talks, but the fact that they haven’t made a formal offer to the 27-year-old Texas product is concerning.
It’s possible that the Redskins could make a formal offer in the coming days, but it seems more likely that they will slap the franchise tag on him. $11 million is rich for just one season and would only postpone this saga, so the franchise tag should only be used to buy time to extend long-term contract talks. Orakpo is someone the Redskins need to re-sign, as it isn’t easy to find pass rushers who can record ten sacks in a season while facing an awful lot of double-teams and chip-blocks from TEs. He also recorded 60 tackles, and the only reason the Redskins should let him go is if his asking price is ridiculously high.