Analyzing the Redskins' Next Big Contract Decisions
The Washington Redskins drudged through a relatively difficult contract decision earlier in the year when they had to decide what to do with linebacker Brian Orakpo—hand the pass-rusher a huge contract, retain him by way of the franchise tag or simply let him walk.
Ultimately, the Redskins tagged Orakpo, but not even that situation is settled. And the front office has other looming contract decisions—most spanning over the next couple seasons but carrying an immediate reason for attention.
Here's a forecast for the Redskins' larger upcoming contract decisions.
Note: All contract numbers and salary figures provided by Spotrac.com.
Brian Orakpo, LB
While on the topic, the Redskins really aren't finished with Orakpo and his contract.
Although the franchise tag will keep Orakpo in Washington for the upcoming season and pay him close to $11.5 million, it doesn't work for anything past that. And while the Redskins are safe in that they have a starting linebacker to fill their roster, it's safe to assume the front office is devising a plan on what to do with the 27-year-old and his next contract at season's end.
Needless to say, this is a huge season for Orakpo and his future earnings—at least in Washington.
If the front office sees a healthy Orakpo making impact plays and helping to vastly improve a defensive unit, then he'll likely be rewarded. But if Orakpo falls to injury again or doesn't post stats carrying importance outside of empty numerical value, 2014 could very well be his last season in Washington.
Trent Williams, OT
Despite being slated to make more than $25 million over the next two seasons, Trent Williams is still a name the Redskins need to keep in mind in terms of long-term contract decisions.
Although it wouldn't appear likely the Redskins would allow Williams' contract to run out, if they did, the left tackle would be just 27 years old in the spring of 2016. Clearly his talent and performance over the last four seasons warrants a large sum of money, and Williams can probably bank (pun intended) on receiving that coin from the same team that drafted him fourth overall in 2010.
Giving Williams tons of money with his next contract is a no-brainer for the Redskins. The reason it's important now, however, is because the front office will need to take into account that future pond of cash during every offseason and prior to every other negotiation.
Ryan Kerrigan, LB
After making less than $3 million this season, Ryan Kerrigan is set to double his pay in 2015 with an exercised club option that hums to a tune that sings at just over $7 million per year.
And it likely won't stop there.
Since drafting him 16th overall in 2011, the Redskins have not only watched Kerrigan terrorize quarterbacks with 24.5 sacks in three seasons but also make impactful plays that helped change or shape many contests.
As one of only a couple playmakers on this Redskins defense, and one of the most consistently hard-working players on Sunday, Kerrigan isn't just a fan favorite but a front office favorite as well.
By taking advantage of their club option for 2015, the Redskins have now locked up Kerrigan for less than $10 million over the next two seasons. That helps to establish their roster while also committing to the 25-year-old linebacker, letting him know he's a large part of their future plans.
As with Williams, the forthcoming deal for Kerrigan feels like a simple decision for the Redskins.
Robert Griffin III, QB
Saving the most obvious for last, Robert Griffin III's four-year rookie deal is set to run out in 2016. The Redskins will most certainly explore the realm of franchise-quarterback money when they sign him to his next contract.
After trading the house to move up to draft Griffin in 2012, the Redskins won't let this thing get too far. With a roller-coaster career so far—from prized rookie of the year to hobbled and underwhelming—Griffin is poised for a breakout year in 2014, at which point he'll gain leverage at the negotiating table.
Asking whether the Redskins keep Griffin is ridiculous. The better question is how much money he demands/receives. Outside of football talent, Griffin is mega-marketable, which won't go ignored come contract-talk time.