Hold up on that contract for Brian Orakpo, Redskins fans.
He should get it.
Probably will get it.
But not yet. No reason to hurry.
There is one big “what if” the Redskins must decide on before dealing for Rack.
Nobody is talking about the what-if. The Redskins will not discuss it with you.
You are reading it on Hog Heaven first.
What if Jim Haslett isn’t here next season?
Bet ya didn’t think about that.
The heat that sunk Mike Shanahan left thin ice under Haslett.
Fans don’t think as NFL front offices do. If they did, both Haslett and OT Tyler Polumbus would be gone.
The fact both are still here reveals how the Redskins see last year’s debacle.
Haslett and his defense will be “unleashed” this year. That’s going to fix everything. Right! (A return to RGIII’s 2012 performance is the real fix, but that’s another blog post.)
Haslett seems more interested in boosting the pass rush and finding an frugal replacement for London Fletcher than in signing a top tier safety.
Don’t pout. Fletch was the frugal replacement for Mike Barrow who never played a down for the ‘Skins.
Boosting the pass rush means keeping the best free agent pass rusher of 2014 and 2015. The Redskins did that by franchising Orakpo. Free agents 2015 John Abraham and Dwight Freeney have bigger names. They also have more mileage.
As Indiana Jones said, “It’s not the years (or the sacks), honey. It’s the mileage.”
The Redskins are holding the aces. They could franchise Orakpo again, although neither side wants that to happen.
The Redskins don’t want to pay the price of a second franchise tag.
The market for pass-rusher did not develop as Orakpo hoped. Rak signed his franchise tender right after Jarad Allen signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Bears. ($15.5 million guaranteed.)
Not a coincidence.
The Redskins want to see whether faith in Orakpo and Haslett is justified before committing to both. If Haslett does not survive, a new guy with a new system will have a direct bearing on Orakpo’s value. In an unfriendly market, Orakpo wants to lock in a deal now with a team that loves him but does not share his urgency.
The Redskins have another hedge. What pass-rushing OLB/DE will emerge from the college class of 2015? Can the Redskins get him?
Rak was the 13th overall player selected in the 2009 NFL Draft. The Redskins in 2008 finished .500 to be in position to make that 13th pick. You figure them to hover around that mark this year. (Do not quibble over a five-game improvement.)
The rookie pay scale in the new CBA makes upper-half first-round alternatives too attractive to ignore, even for someone like Orakpo.
The Redskins want to keep Orakpo and we all want to see that happen. It does not have to happen now.