All indications have pointed to a healthy return for the Washington Redskin's linebacker Brian Orakpo after a torn pectoral muscle effectively ruined his 2012 season. Orakpo is a free-agent after the season, and the Redskins are apparently content with allowing him to play out the season before offering him a long-term deal.
Orakpo has all the tools to propel himself to the upper hierarchy of pass-rushers in the NFL, but injuries have derailed a hot start for the former Texas Longhorn. He's notched 29.5 sacks in his first 49 games, which earned him a spot on the NFC's Pro Bowl roster in his first two seasons in the league. Washington was confident that it had solved their pass-rushing issues that plagued them in the mid-2000's by pairing Orakpo, who's widely considered the Redskin's best defensive player, with Ryan Kerrigan, a first-round pick in 2011.
Brian had this to say about his contract issues,
"I'm not worried about it," Orakpo said last week, via the Washington Post. "I'm concentrating on having a successful season. Everything will take care of itself."
Washington's hesitation to offer Orakpo a long-term deal raises questions about their belief in his productivity after missing several games due to injury. If the Redskin's are going to return to the playoffs after a surprise run to the NFC East championship last year, the team's first since 1999, they are going to need a stellar performance from Orakpo. The team should have plenty of cap room heading in to the 2014 NFL season after a cap penalty has forced them to be frugal with their spending the past two off-seasons.
If Orakpo and Washington can't come to an agreement, the team has the ability to place the franchise tag on him, forcing him with the team for at least one more season or entitling them to compensation if Orakpo would like to play elsewhere.
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