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Has Brian Orakpo proven himself?

Has Brian Orakpo proven himself?

Has Brian Orakpo proven himself?

"I have to prove myself again, huh?" Orakpo said on Monday on the subject of the possibility of signing a long-term contract extension. "I don't have to prove myself to anybody. I'm already proven in this league. I don't have to prove anything to anybody. That goes for fans, that goes for media. Anybody. I'm well-proven in this league. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out, but I don't have to prove anything to anybody."

Orakpo is currently tagged as the Redskins’ franchise player. He has signed his tender, essentially a one-year, $11.45 million contract that is fully guaranteed. But he wants a long-term contract and the Redskins appear to be in no hurry to give him what he wants.

"I wouldn't mind letting him play out this franchise tag and see what happens,” Jay Gruden said at the NFL owners meetings last month.

But is Orakpo a “proven” commodity? That depends on your definition of the word. He’s certainly shown that he is a very capable starter and a well-rounded 3-4 outside linebacker. That, however, is not what Orakpo means by “proven” in this context. He is talking about money and deserving to be one of the best-paid pass rushers in the game.

There, the case is shaky. Orakpo has 39.5 sacks since he came into the league in 2009. A total of 21 players have more sacks in that time span. Orakpo did miss almost all of the 2012 season with an injury but others ahead of him on the sacks list like Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs also have missed substantial time with injuries.

Mario Williams is the top-paid defensive end in the game with a deal that averages $16 million per year. Clay Matthews is at the top of the heap among outside linebackers with a contract averaging $13.2 million per year. We don’t know what Orakpo is asking for in a long-term deal but it’s probably in the neighborhood of what those two are making.

Williams, Matthews, and Orakpo have all played between 65 and 70 games since 2009. Orakpo has 39.5 sacks, Williams has 46 and Matthews has 60. The difference in impact is about more than just sacks. In 2013 Orakpo got his first interception and scored his first career touchdown. He has forced six fumbles. Matthews has four career picks with two touchdowns, 10 forced fumbles, and a fumble return for a touchdown on his résumé. Williams has 14 forced fumbles.

I would think that the Redskins agree that Orakpo has proven himself to be worthy of the 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft and deserving of a contract extension. The disagreement is over how much that extension is worth.

Bruce Allen was asked about the possibility of keeping the tandem of Orakpo and left outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan together in the long term. "We like Ryan and Rak together and we think they have the possibility of being a great tandem for years to come,” he said.

That doesn’t sound like a very strong commitment coming from the man who will decide if Orakpo gets his long-term deal in Washington.

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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!