Brian Orakpo recorded his 10th sack of the season last Sunday in Atlanta. That’s good for him, but it may not have been good for the Redskins. His contract is up after this season and each sack increases the value of his next deal.
Should the Redskins do whatever it takes to keep Orakpo this offseason? Or should they let him walk and spend their cap dollars elsewhere? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and Tarik El-Bashir debate the question on this week’s edition of Point-Counterpoint.
Tandler: The Redskins need Orakpo. Although there should be some limits on “whatever it takes”—some team with a huge pile of cap room could swoop in and make a completely ridiculous offer—Washington needs to make a solid opening offer and then get into a bidding war if necessary. According to Pro Football Focus, Orakpo is far and away the Redskins’ best defender. PFF backs up Jim Haslett’s contention that Orakpo has lower sack numbers than some “elite” pass rushers because he doesn’t always rush the passer. Only five other 3-4 outside linebackers get a sack or pressure on a greater percentage of their pass rushes than Orakpo. In a game that has evolved into one where pass rush is the best pass defense, the ability to get to the quarterback is a very valuable skill. The Redskins might experience some sticker shock but they need to keep the best pass rusher they have.
El-Bashir: Orakpo is going to get paid. A lot. By reaching double-digits in sacks for the second time in his career as well as showing significant improvement in other areas, the 27-year-old has guaranteed that. He’s also going to have a ton of leverage this offseason. And if I were running the team, I’d be tempted to let him flex that financial muscle elsewhere. The Redskins won 10 games last season when Orakpo spent 14 weeks on IR. They’ve got three wins this year and he’s having a career year. My point? One player does not turn a franchise around. The current six-game losing streak has exposed the Redskins for what really they are: a team with talent deficiencies all over the place. They need immediate help at wide receiver, inside linebacker, safety, along the offensive and defensive lines, special teams and, depending on the health of Jordan Reed, possibly tight end. It’s unclear how much Orakpo will seek, but it’s a safe bet his agent won’t respond to any offer less than $10 million per season. Allocating that money to a number of positions, rather than just one, will expedite the Redskins’ retooling process.