- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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It’s tough to remember a more polarizing Washington Redskins free agent than Brian Orakpo. Is he worth a big contract? Is he really that good? You can see that polarization when it came to our Redskins Nation poll: 81.4 percent of those responding said they wanted Orakpo back.
Ah, but there’s a catch. Of that 81.4 percent, only 45.4 percent were willing to pay him more than $9 million per season (including two who suggested the franchise tag, which is expected to be about $10.9 million).
There were eight votes for paying him $8 million a year or less, which, in essence, is a no. There is little chance Orakpo would be re-signed for such a figure.
Not every team would want to pay him $10 million a year simply because he lacks enough game-changing plays (six forced fumbles, one interception). But with the salary cap increasing, and the need for pass-rushers always high -- and few available this offseason, especially at outside linebacker -- it’s tough to see him getting less than what Cleveland handed Paul Kruger a year ago ($8.1 million per year).
Yes, the market can sometimes correct itself, but Orakpo is a more proven player than Kruger, was so it’s not the same situation. Orakpo is not Clay Matthews, but there is little chance he sees himself as being worth $5 million a year less than his Green Bay counterpart, who received a $13-million-a-year extension last offseason.
I think the Redskins will have a hard time paying him $10 million per year. If they do so, I think in some quarters of the building it will be done reluctantly.
Five people said they would bring him back for no more than $7 million a year. They should have done what Nancy Reagan suggested long ago: Just say no. But it certainly gives you an idea of what they felt about his value.
Back to the survey: So if it takes at least $9 million per year? Then the number of those who want him back drops to 37.3 percent.
Some said they would sign Orakpo at the right price, but didn’t give a price. Those responses couldn’t be used because, well, we’re trying to figure out what you think that price is or should be. Hard to say if that is a yes or a no.
One participant, @prog314, summed up some of the conflicted thoughts in a series of tweets: “I don't want to pay him. But, I fear a situation where you have to replace 3 out of 4 lbers in the 3-4 system. 8 mil is..overkill, but it may be a necessary evil. He needs to be on a contract that takes his injuries into account ... On top of that, who would replace these voids? I would love Dansby, but him and Cards are working on contract. Not a ... lot of good pass rushers to take his spot either. However, ILB is more important in my opinion.”
Here are some more of your responses:
It’s tough to remember a more polarizing Washington Redskins free agent than Brian Orakpo. Is he worth a big contract? Is he really that good? You can see that polarization when it came to our Redskins Nation poll: 81.