The Redskins’ contract talks with Brian Orakpo remain at a standstill. The team has yet to make their outside linebacker a firm contract offer, according to the Washington Post. The deadline for using the franchise player tag on Orakpo comes this Monday at 4 p.m. and there is no indication that the Redskins are going to use it. That would greatly increase the chances that the Redskins will have to prepare for a future without their leading pass rusher for the last five years.
Although we don’t know what they will do, the best move might be to move Ryan Kerrigan, who was second on the team in sacks last year, from the left outside linebacker to the right side. That would put their best pass rusher on the blindside of right-handed quarterbacks.
Kerrigan would represent a minimal downgrade from Orakpo on that right side, arguably the most important position in a 3-4 defense. The issue would become replacing Kerrigan on the left side.
The only legitimate candidate who the Redskins have under contract at that spot now is second-year player Brandon Jenkins. The staff was very high on him last year but he played sparingly and is very much an unproven commodity.
They also could bring back Rob Jackson and/or Darryl Tapp. Jackson started 14 games on the right side in 2012 when Orakpo was out with an injury. He is good in pass coverage but does not provide much pass pressure. Tapp is solid against the run but he also is limited when it comes to pass rushing.
Another option would be to bring in somebody in free agency or the draft. But premiere pass rusher are expensive in free agency (if they weren’t the Redskins may have locked up Orakpo a long time ago) and, like most years, the draft is not loaded with them.