Report: Brian Orakpo likely to play out final year of contract
But reaching an agreement on a new deal could be far more complicated process for both sides. Orakpo is coming off a torn pectoral muscle, after the injury ended both of his last two seasons in Washington. While Orakpo has certainly proven that he is a difference-making pass rusher, the fourth-year veteran still has to prove to the Redskins that he can remain healthy for a full season. So, it makes a lot of sense that Orakpo’s ability to stay healthy seems to be an issue to why both sides are currently not negotiating.
Orakpo is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and while locking him up to a long-term contract seems to be part of the Redskins agenda down the line, they have yet to move in that direction. ESPN.com's Dan Graziano writes that it appears the Redskins intend to let Orakpo play out the final year of his current deal instead of re-signing the player to a long-term contract this offseason.
But Orakpo said he is not worried at all about playing the 2013 season without a new contract in hand, which seems highly likely according to recent reports.
"I'm not worried about it," Orakpo said last week, during minicamp "I'm concentrating on having a successful season. Everything will take care of itself."
Waiting on until next season to wrap up negotiations may actually work in the interest of both sides. While Orakpo was clearly limited by a torn pectoral muscle last season, appearing in just two games until ending the season on the injured reserve after producing just five tackles and one sack for the Redskins. But Orakpo is confident that he can produce at a high level again and is looking for a big pass-rushing year with the Redskins in 2013. After all, Orakpo recorded 28.5 sacks during his first three seasons in Washington and the team could use him on the defense after ranking 30th in the league in pass rushing last season. So, putting off contract negotiations could be in Orakpo’s interest as he will be able to demand a raise while remaining the books with the Redskins.
The Redskins are currently cap-strapped this season due to the league-imposed penalties each of the past two seasons. But they are project to have about $25 million-$30 million worth of cap room next year, which will provide them with the ability to match the market demands for Orakpo if they intend to bring him back after a productive year next offseason. It is also worth noting that the Redskins could also use the franchise tag on Orakpo if the situation demands it next offseason.