Do the Redskins need to do whatever it takes to keep Orakpo?

Do the Redskins need to do whatever it takes to keep Orakpo?
January 31, 2014, 2:30 pm
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Tandler - Tarik

This morning, we examined the Redskins’ 2014 outlook at outside linebacker. Now, Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will give their take on the most pressing issue at the position: Should the Redskins re-sign Brian Orakpo?

El-Bashir: My feelings on this subject have not wavered since we first started debating it a few months ago. Yes, the Redskins should re-sign Orapko … for the right price. It’s good business to draft, develop and then reward your own players for performing. But it’s bad business to overspend on one player when you’ve got so many other positions to address. Striking a balance will be key. Although Orakpo had a couple of fruitless efforts (goose eggs across the board in Dallas and Denver) he was also dominant down the stretch, at one point registering seven sacks in six games. The six highest paid outside linebackers signed deals that average between $13.2 - $10.2 million per season. The next six earn between $9 – $6.7 million. To me, Orakpo belongs more in the second group. At 27, Orakpo is still young, plays an important position and has the ability to dominate. But we should not forget the Redskins also won the NFC East while he was injured reserve in 2012.  

Tandler: Excellent breakdown of the pertinent information there by Tarik but he misses the ultimate solution. What the Redskins need to do is slap the franchise tag on Orakpo. Yes, his 2014 salary would land in the range of the higher-paid outside linebackers, just under $11 million. But the upside is that it’s a one-year deal. If Orakpo reverts to the form he showed in 2010 and 2011, when he posted a total of 17.5 sacks, or if, dare I say it, he gets injured again the Redskins can either walk away or negotiate from more of a position of strength. Perhaps they might even find out if Brandon Jenkins can play. And if he blows up and has a monster year? Tag him again; he’ll be a bargain at just over $13 million for the 2015 season. The tag will also keep a team like the Raiders or Jacksonville, teams with a ton of cap space and a need to make a move to show the fans that they’re serious about winning, from swooping in with an offer the Redskins just can’t match. Bottom line, if you’re not sold on Orakpo enough to make the long-term investment, get a short-term rental and go from there.