Redskins lock up No. 1 free agent on defense: Brian Orakpo. Feel better now?

Brian Orakpo, Texas Longhorns

Wow.

A few fans grousing about Redskins inactivity or failure in the NFL Free Agency period need to be reminded of that.

So we wrote the headline as if Orakpo was a star from another team.

The Redskins offered the top defensive player entering free agency, Brian Orakpo, franchise tag money to play for one year.

Feel better now?

I say “offered,” but no free agent wants to be franchised. They want a long term deal with guaranteed money. The Redskins haven’t signed Rak yet. He says he will not sign the offer sheet. No matter. He has no choice in 2014.

The Redskins will eventually come to terms with Orakpo, who doesn’t really want to leave. He wants to be paid the max he can get. A man only gets one shot at his second NFL contract.

Meanwhile, the Redskins have allocated the $11.4 million cap hit on the 2014 budget and can maneuver for other free agents before getting back to Orakpo. When we get to “done deal” with Rak, I expect the 2104 cap hit to be less than franchise figure, but the ‘Skins will absorb cap hits for him for the next four to six years.

Point is, fans cannot look at free agent moves, or the lack thereof, in isolation.

There’s a bigger picture. It involves numbers. Numbers are hard.

It makes no sense to lose Orakpo to free agency to save $11.4 million and then sign Darelle Revis whose deal with the Patriots will have (I think I hear) a $12 million cap hit this year and a $16 million hit in 2015 if the Pats exercise the $20 million option to keep him.

Losing your best outside linebacker who can line up as defensive end to sign a more expensive cornerback whose contract structure makes him a one-year solution isn’t a real answer. 

And no, you can’t do that even if the Redskins bring Rob Jackson back. Jackson reached Unrestricted Free Agent status last month. He is shopping the market. I like Jackson. He is a disruptive player, but not the pass rusher Orakpo is. Comparing Jackson to Orakpo is like comparing Ladell Betts to Clinton Portis.

Betts was an adequate rusher for yards, but Portis was a scorer. Jackson is a nice player in rotation, but not your starter when you have Orakpo.

Orakpo, because of his talent and his position, ranked on some lists as the top defensive pending free agent before the Redskins locked him up with the franchise tag.

Remember when the Redskins signed London Fletcher? No. You do not because most Redskins fans never heard the name before Joe Gibbs signed him in 2007 because Mike Barrow never recovered from the injury he had when Washington signed him

Bruce Allen isn't looking for the next Revis. He's on a hunt for the next Fletcher.

Stop star gazing. Don’t get worked up until we see where the Redskins are at the end of the whole player acquisition period – free agency and the NFL Draft.

Point after

News that the Redskins were in active trade talks with the Saints for RB Darren Sproles is fair warning to Roy Helu, Jr. and Evan Royster to pick up their game.

Alfred Morris is entrenched at No. 1 back. Chris Thompson gets another year or two to prove himself. Helu and Royster may not have shown enough to new coaches who are not invested in them.   

It does beg the question, what exactly did Washington have to offer? We pay off the last installment of the of the RGIII trade to the Rams this year. We aren’t exactly Draft pick rich. The Eagles traded a fifth-round pick for Sproles.

The Redskins have the more valuable pick by round than the Eagles. Washington picks “second” in each round. The Eagles follow them by 19 picks. Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden may value that pick more than Sproles, or more likely, the Saints honored the player’s preference to go to the Eagles over the Redskins.

The ‘Skins haven’t distinguished themselves with the Draft picks or with cap management. Now they seem to be deliberate in their use of both.  

 

What we said about Champ Bailey a few days ago applies just as much to Ryan Clark. Don’t even think about signing him if it’s a matter of a famous name or nostalgia. Clark, age 35, is at Redskins Park exploring a possible return as I write this.

 

The Redskins re-signed ILB Perry Riley, and came to terms with free agents WR Andre Roberts, OG Shawn Lauvao and ILBs Adam Hayward and Darryl Sharpton.

They re-signed DL Chris Baker, CB DeAngelo Hall and WR Aldrick Robinson before the free agency period.

Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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