The Washington Redskins nearly allowed star outside linebacker Brian Orakpo to walk in free agency this offseason, as it was a difficult decision for them. They always wanted to keep Orakpo around, and he’s definitely the star of their defense and an excellent pass rusher. However, the Redskins were worried that spending $11 million to tag him would be too much money, especially given their needs in the secondary. The Redskins ultimately decided to keep the star OLB around for at least one more season, and it was a decision I applauded, so long as the Redskins would sign him to a long-term deal.
It’s obvious that Orakpo would like to receive a major contract, but he’s not going to go for less either. Orakpo knows that he’s a valuable commodity and one of the game’s best pass rushers due to his ability to consistently get to the quarterback, and he also knows that he doesn’t need to prove this value to anyone.
According to the Washington Post’s Mike Jones, Orakpo stated with plenty of conviction that playing on the franchise tag isn’t a sign of needing to prove anything, “Oh, I’ve got to prove myself again, huh? I don’t have to prove myself to anybody. I’m already proven in this league. Like I said, I’m here. I have a great relationship with Coach Gruden. I have a great relationship with Bruce Allen, and I have a great relationship with Mr. Snyder, and I’m here. It is what it is. I signed my franchise tag. I’m here. So, play it out, whatever the case may be, I still want something long-term. But I’m not going to be in a situation where I’m holding out, this and that stuff and I’m a distraction and all that comes with it. But I don’t need to prove anything to nobody. That goes for fans, that goes for media, anybody. I’m well proven in this league, and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.”
I couldn’t agree more with what Orakpo is saying, and it should be obvious that he’s proven his worth in this league and doesn’t need to prove the Redskins that he can play. They know he can play at a high level in this league, otherwise Bruce Allen wouldn’t have spent that franchise tag money to guarantee that he would stay for another year. At this point, the issue is agreeing to a long-term deal, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out.