The Washington Redskins most important impending free agent is undoubtedly star outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, who is one of the team’s best players and is easily the best player on an awful Redskins defense. He and Ryan Kerrigan form a talented outside linebacker duo that is the staple of the defense, and keeping a star pass rusher like Orakpo would help out the new defensive backs that the Redskins are expected to re-sign. However, the amount of money that it would take to re-sign Orakpo could severely cut into the Redskins ability to make upgrades in the secondary or at other positions, and this complicates things.
Mark Maske and Mike Jones of the Washington Post report that while the Redskins hold Orakpo in “high regard” and would love to keep him around, they still aren’t sure if they want to keep him. Jones reported on Friday that the Redskins still haven’t made their OLB a formal offer, and one member of the organization told both reporters that their decision is “a really close call”.
The Redskins have until Monday to decide if they want to use the $11 million franchise tag on Orakpo, but spending that kind of money would severely curtail their flexibility. They desperately need to make upgrades in the secondary, and adding a cornerback and safety would go a long way to helping out one of the league’s worst defenses. Orakpo is a great player and would be one of the most talented free agents, but they will have to be careful not to overpay. The franchise tag guarantees that he’ll stick around, but it isn’t flexible at all and only postpones this saga until next season.
Their best bet is definitely to sign Orakpo to a long-term deal, and the franchise tag can be a way of extending the negotiating period. But if they feel that he isn’t amicable to signing a feasible long-term deal at some point and will simply ask for too much, then using the tag to extend the negotiating period might not help. While the Redskins should do whatever they can to keep a player as talented as Orakpo, they can’t afford to kill their cap situation. It’s not surprising to hear that the Redskins still haven’t decided what they want to do, because it is an extremely difficult decision. But they are also up against the clock now, so keep a close eye out for any news regarding their thoughts or their negotiations with Orakpo.