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Has Brian Orakpo proven himself?

Has Brian Orakpo proven himself?

Has Brian Orakpo proven himself?

"I have to prove myself again, huh?" Orakpo said on Monday on the subject of the possibility of signing a long-term contract extension. "I don't have to prove myself to anybody. I'm already proven in this league. I don't have to prove anything to anybody. That goes for fans, that goes for media. Anybody. I'm well-proven in this league. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out, but I don't have to prove anything to anybody."

Orakpo is currently tagged as the Redskins’ franchise player. He has signed his tender, essentially a one-year, $11.45 million contract that is fully guaranteed. But he wants a long-term contract and the Redskins appear to be in no hurry to give him what he wants.

"I wouldn't mind letting him play out this franchise tag and see what happens,” Jay Gruden said at the NFL owners meetings last month.

But is Orakpo a “proven” commodity? That depends on your definition of the word. He’s certainly shown that he is a very capable starter and a well-rounded 3-4 outside linebacker. That, however, is not what Orakpo means by “proven” in this context. He is talking about money and deserving to be one of the best-paid pass rushers in the game.

There, the case is shaky. Orakpo has 39.5 sacks since he came into the league in 2009. A total of 21 players have more sacks in that time span. Orakpo did miss almost all of the 2012 season with an injury but others ahead of him on the sacks list like Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs also have missed substantial time with injuries.

Mario Williams is the top-paid defensive end in the game with a deal that averages $16 million per year. Clay Matthews is at the top of the heap among outside linebackers with a contract averaging $13.2 million per year. We don’t know what Orakpo is asking for in a long-term deal but it’s probably in the neighborhood of what those two are making.

Williams, Matthews, and Orakpo have all played between 65 and 70 games since 2009. Orakpo has 39.5 sacks, Williams has 46 and Matthews has 60. The difference in impact is about more than just sacks. In 2013 Orakpo got his first interception and scored his first career touchdown. He has forced six fumbles. Matthews has four career picks with two touchdowns, 10 forced fumbles, and a fumble return for a touchdown on his résumé. Williams has 14 forced fumbles.

I would think that the Redskins agree that Orakpo has proven himself to be worthy of the 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft and deserving of a contract extension. The disagreement is over how much that extension is worth.

Bruce Allen was asked about the possibility of keeping the tandem of Orakpo and left outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan together in the long term. "We like Ryan and Rak together and we think they have the possibility of being a great tandem for years to come,” he said.

That doesn’t sound like a very strong commitment coming from the man who will decide if Orakpo gets his long-term deal in Washington.

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

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Redskins Fan of the Year bracket: Which Washington supporter deserves the title?

Every week during the 2017 Redskins season, NBC Sports Washington found two Redskins fans in the crowd and paired them in a head-to-head matchup on Twitter to determine the fan of the game.

And now that the season is over, it's time to take each of those winners, throw them into a NCAA Tournament-style bracket and let Twitter pick the Redskins Fan of the Year.

Starting on January 8 over on the @NBCSRedskins Twitter account, one matchup a day will be posted at 11 a.m., and fans will have 24 hours to vote for their favorite supporter by retweeting or liking depending on their preference. Week 1's winner will face off with Week 17's, Week 2's will play Week 16's, etc.

The winners will advance, and eventually, one member of the Burgundy and Gold faithful will stand above all the rest, earning the coveted title of Redskins Fan of the Year. 

Check out the results below, which'll be updated every day. To see the tweet that corresponded with each matchup, click the link after the date, but remember, retweets and likes submitted after the 24-hour period won't be counted.

January 8: Round one, matchup one

This was a close one that came down to the last-minute, but at the 24-hour mark, Week 17's winner garnered justtttttttt enough retweets to move on.

January 9: Round one, matchup two

In this tournament, a giant Redskins chain is apparently worth more than a giant football hat.

January 10: Round one, matchup three

In the tournament's third showdown, we have our first winner from the Likes side:

January 11: Round one, matchup four

Was there anyway she wasn't gonna win, especially with the little Hogettes nose?

January 12: Round one, matchup five

Our fifth matchup's winner earned the most retweets of anyone up to this point:

January 15: Round one, matchup six

These three 'Skins fans had to witness Washington's Thursday night flop in Dallas, so it's only fair that they get to advance to the second round:

January 16: Round one, matchup seven

There's still time to vote on this one:

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

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Who will be the Redskins' core offensive players three years from now?

Just before training camp, I took a stab at figuring out who on the Redskins roster would still be with the team and contributing in the year 2020. Now that the season is over, let’s revisit that look, move it up to 2021, and see how much the picture has changed. The offense is up today, the defense later this week.

The terms used here are mostly self-explanatory. If you want details you can look at this post from a couple of years ago.   

Offense (age as of Week 1 2021)

Potential blue-chip players: Brandon Scherff (29), Morgan Moses (30)
Changes from last prediction: Moses added, removed Trent Williams (33), Jordan Reed (31)

Scherff and Moses both are two young players who should get better with more experience. The right side of the line will be in good hands assuming the Redskins will be able to re-sign Scherff, who will be a free agent following the 2019 season.

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Williams will be 33 in 2021. He can play at a very high level at that age but I think he will be just below the perennial Pro Bowl status he enjoys now. Although I think that the Redskins can still get some good play out of Reed in the next couple of years, it’s hard to imagine him staying productive into his 30’s. He is under contract through 2021 but it’s hard to see him playing in Washington past 2020.

Solid starters: Jamison Crowder (28), Josh Doctson (27), Chris Thompson (30), Williams
Changes: Doctson, Thompson, Williams added, Kirk Cousins (33), Terrelle Pryor (32), Moses removed.

I’m probably higher on Doctson than most. I don’t see him attaining All-Pro status or catching 100 passes in a season but his physical talent is so good that he will be a solid, productive receiver for the next several years. The Redskins will need to find a third receiver but they will have two good ones in Crowder and Doctson.

Third-down back isn’t technically a starting position but Thompson should still be contributing as much to the offense as many starters.

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I think that Cousins will be a solid starter somewhere in 2021 but it is not looking like it will be in Washington. Pryor obviously did not work out and he is very likely to be playing elsewhere next year.

Potential starters: Spencer Long (30), Rob Kelley (28), Samaje Perine (25), Chase Roullier (28)
Changes: Added Roullier, moved Doctson up

Long could be a fixture on the O-line in 2021 or he could be signed by a different team in March. I don’t think that Kelley or Perine will be workhorse backs but either or both could be a part of a tandem. Roullier could move up to the “solid starters” category if he can repeat what he did in a small sample size (7 starts) in 2017.

There are other players who could end up on these lists a year from now. But we haven’t seen enough of 2017 draft picks TE Jeremy Sprinkle or WR Robert Davis to offer an intelligent assessment of where their careers are headed. It’s the same with undrafted linemen Tyler Catalina and Kyle Kalis. They might not make the team in 2018 or they could be competing for starting jobs in 2019.

There also are reserves like Ryan Grant (30) and Ty Nsekhe (35) who still could be on the roster but who would only be spot starters.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.