Brian Orakpo is a free agent for the first time in his professional career after receiving the franchise tag from the Washington Redskins last offseason. The Redskins did not opt to sign him to a contract extension during a disappointing season that saw Orakpo only get half a sack, and ended with his third pectoral tear which placed him on injured reserve. The Redskins have expressed interest in re-signing Orkapo, but only at the right price and the right terms for the contract.
Brian Orakpo is visiting the Tennessee Titans today, and is getting the sales pitch to sign from his friend, Titans safety Michael Griffin. Orakpo and Griffin were teammates on the Texas Longhorns and Griffin has spoken to Orakpo before free agency started and during his visit today.
"Come here, we need you," he said. "We'd love to have you here. ...I told him I love the organization and that they will be great to him also."
ESPN's Josina Anderson also spoke with Orakpo about his visit.
Orakpo told me he's looking forward to seeing his friend S Michael Griffin on his #Titans visit. Griffin has been guiding him on this.— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 11, 2015
She asked about going from one losing team to another:
LB Brian Orakpo to me on if he can be truly be happy going from a 4-12 team to a 2-14 #Titans team: "That is a tough question. So, going into another situation that is somewhat rebuilding is something that I have to see if it's worthwhile...I just want to kind of get a blueprint of what is going on."
She also asked about leaving the Redskins after 6 years with the team:
LB Brian Orakpo to me on the possibly of moving on from the Redskins: "Obviously you can't get too emotional. I've invested six years with Washington--good and bad. I'm not completely closing that door yet, but at the same time I have to face the reality there's a chance I'll be playing for a different team."
Orakpo is scheduled to visit the Arizona Cardinals after his Titans visit if he doesn't sign a deal while he is there. During the "legal tampering" period last weekend other teams were reportedly interested in Orakpo including the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles had been linked to Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Jason Worilds since last year, but he announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 27. Several DE/OLBs have already been signed in free agency, and Orakpo is one of the top options available, even with his injury history. Teams will be cautious with the type of contract offered to Orakpo with length and guaranteed money. If Orakpo gets an offer similar to the one the Redskins might offer, will he choose to move or will he stay with the team he started his career?
If Orakpo leaves, the Redskins will need to address the spot, and they haven't been linked to any OLBs in free agency. Last season, rookie OLB Trent Murphy took over for Orakpo after he went on IR and started the final 8 games of the year. He finished with 32 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 pass defended and 2 forced fumbles. While he was better than expected against the run, his pass rush and pressure on the QB needs to improve. If Orakpo, or another free agent is not re-signed, the Redskins could take advantage of their top 5 pick to possibly take the first edge rusher in the draft.