Redskins: Time was up for Orakpo
When fit, Orakpo enjoyed considerable success in Washington. In 2013, his +23.7 overall grade ranked fourth-best among 3-4 outside linebackers. He had 11 sacks and 51 total pressures on his way to an 11.3 Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP), ninth-best at the position that season. Nor was that the first time he’d put together such a productive season. In 2011 he had the seventh-best overall grade (+21.1) among rush linebackers, and had the sixth-best PRP score (12.2).
However Orakpo has ended two of the past three seasons on injured reserve, tearing the same pectoral muscle on both occasions. With concerns about his durability, the Redskins have resisted temptation to invest more money in Orakpo, after paying him $11.4m as their franchise player in 2014. Moreover, the development of Ryan Kerrigan has mitigated Washington’s need for pass rush options. Kerrigan enjoyed what was easily his best season as a pro in 2014; recording 13 sacks on his way to an impressive 13.0 PRP score, fourth-best among 3-4 OLB’s. Kerrigan’s 73 total quarterback pressures tied for third in the league among all defensive players, behind only J.J. Watt (119) and Justin Houston (87).
Kerrigan is also entering the final year of his rookie deal and will surely command a substantial sum of money in 2016. Paying big money for both has cap implications, so the Redskins appear to have opted to prioritize their investment in the younger, durable and more productive Kerrigan. Simply put, Orakpo’s departure just made sense for all parties.