One of the more intriguing options for the Tennessee Titans in free agency this offseason could be Brian Orakpo of the Washington Redskins. Orakpo is seen as being "scheme versatile." That means he could play end in a 4-3 and outside linebacker in a 3-4. That sounds perfect for the hybrid the Titans will likely run in 2014.
Orakpo had 39.5 sacks in his 5 seasons in Washington, and he missed most of the 2012 season with an injury. He also graded out as the top 3-4 OLB in 2013 according to PFF. That means he will command A LOT of money on the free agent market....if he gets there. Ken Meringolo of Hogs Haven doesn't think he will. Here is what Ken had to say when I asked him about Orakpo:
In short, I do not think the Redskins will allow Orakpo to hit the free agent market. His injuries over the last couple of seasons and his varied production are likely things that will cause people to think twice about whether or not the Redskins should pay top dollar for his services. It is also likely that these things may cause him to be undervalued, as his lower-than-desired sack totals are not all his fault. In addition to that, linebackers make less than defensive ends on average, which is important here because Orakpo is an end pass rusher on many, many plays.
Clearly his strength is rushing the passer, which every team needs. He is an exceptional physical specimen…I know, sounds terrible, but he is very strong, athletic and agile. He is not the world’s best cover guy, which I believe I am putting as nicely as possible. He could use a few more pass rushing techniques to employ—you can regularly find him getting beaten in his one-on-one matchup due to a lack of changing up his moves. (I think this is a huge problem in the league in general, by the way. Too many guys try to get by on athletic prowess alone, and don’t put the time in to learn multiple ways to win one-on-one battles.) He is great in pursuit, and if the secondary gives him an extra second, his relentlessness pays off and he ends up making plays. He is a leader on the field for us. Ultimately, he plays a premier position for us, and we have nobody on our roster right now to replace him. We also have no first round draft pick to use to replace him.
Brian Orakpo is a relatively young player (27) that is productive at a position of need for every team in the league. Even at the projected 2014 linebacker franchise tag number of somewhere around $10-11 million, he is likely worth it for the Redskins to retain. I would be very surprised to see him come available this offseason.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Orakpo if he hits the market.