Saturday, May 18, 2013

Should Orakpo Get Mo' Dough?

Photo: ESPN
   Vinny Cerrato, now a former GM, made a surprisingly smart move in the 2009 draft when he and the Redskins organization selected defensive end Brian Orakpo with the 13th overall pick. Many desperate fans wanted a quarterback in the first round such as, ahem, Mark Sanchez a.k.a. The Sanchize, or Josh Freeman. Both of these players are currently on the bubble with their respective teams for inconsistency and turnovers. Sanchez was chosen eight spots ahead of the 'Skins and has developed a give and take relationship with opposing defenses; he gives and they take. Kudos to Cerrato for not pulling the trigger on either of them. Instead, he made a solid choice with Orakpo.
   The two-time Pro Bowler (2009, 2010) has dealt with some nagging injuries over the last couple of seasons, however. He recently spoke to the media in regards to his health and off-season workouts. According to Orakpo, he is 100 percent and ready to play at a high level again after tearing his pectoral muscle early into the 2012 season. The injury originally occurred in the 2011 season finale. But, he insists it was a freak accident and nothing more. "I'm ready to wreak havoc," he said on Comcast SportsNet. "I'm ready to get my crown back as far as putting hell to these quarterbacks in the NFC East and all over the NFL."
   Assuming everything he said is true, does he deserve a long-term contract extension? Orakpo is entering the final year of his contract with the 'Skins and would certainly command a nice payday if he became a free agent after this season. He is not an injury-prone athlete and, when healthy, is a pass-rushing nightmare for opposing teams. If the referees would start calling holding penalties on offensive linemen like they should, Orakpo's sack totals would be even more impressive. Nonetheless, when healthy, the presence of him in the lineup improves the defense tremendously. Having the duo of Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan rushing from the outside linebacker spots will be fun to watch this upcoming season.
   Now that the Redskins are no longer punished with a cap penalty, they are going to have a fair amount of money to shell out on free agents and expiring contracts. Orakpo has stated that he would like to be a Redskin for life, but talks of a new contract are in the back of his mind right now. There should be little reason to believe that Dan Snyder and company won't offer a generous deal to the 26-year-old before the 2014 season ends. Orakpo is a team player and could mean just as much to their defense as a healthy Robert Griffin III to the offense. I would expect Romo, Eli and Vick are going to be Orakpoed a lot for years to come.