My Rant Sports colleague Thomas Ford believes the Washington Redskins should lock down Brian Orakpo and sign the playmaking linebacker to a long-term deal. I disagree.
Let it play out.
Orakpo, of course, will be entering his fifth season with the Burgundy and Gold in 2013. The 13th overall pick out of Texas in the 2009 NFL Draft has enjoyed a solid start to his career with the Redskins, making two Pro Bowls. Last season, unfortunately ended in Week 2, when Orakpo tore a pectoral muscle.
And by all accounts, Orakpo is not simply a good player, but a fine representative of the organization as well. He has indicated that he would like to stay in Washington, as he has grown accustomed to the area, and believes it is a great place for his daughter to grow up. Further, I have no reason or grounds by which to question Orakpo’s sincerity.
However, I do know this: as things stand now, signing Orakpo to a long-term, big-money deal, is of much greater benefit to Orakpo than the Redskins. See, if Orakpo were to suffer another serious injury in 2013, the Redskins would have locked the linebacker down at above market value.
On the contrary, say Orakpo has a Pro Bowl type season, the Redskins could then negotiate at either slightly more or about the same as they would pay now, because let’s face it: Orakpo may love the D.C. area and all, but he knows the second contract is when NFL players really cash in. So, Orakpo isn’t going to sign up for the long haul at a discount before letting this play out either.
Plus, the Redskins are in something of an interesting dilemma for this reason: their two best young defensive players both play outside linebacker.
Yes, the Redskins will be going through the same dilemma in a couple of years with Ryan Kerrigan. And while I love Orakpo, you have to think after the past two seasons Kerrigan is a higher priority. Not only has the Purdue product played every snap his first two seasons with the Redskins, but the team has no other defensive player with Kerrigan’s play-making ability, Orakpo included. Plus, it is doubtful the Redskins want to have a disproportionate amount of money tied up in two players at the same position.
So, in the meantime the Redskins are best off letting the Orakpo situation play itself out. Should the linebacker have a good season, then he probably won’t cost too much more than he would now.
And should 2013 be a disappointment, then the team will not have over committed itself.