Redskins free agent fits: Outside linebacker

Redskins free agent fits: Outside linebacker
February 25, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Jay Gruden is a big fan of Trent Williams

When free agency opens March 11, the Redskins will have about $30 million in cap space and lots of holes to fill. Over the next few weeks, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will examine the field of potential free agents, by position, and evaluate who might be a fit in Washington.

Today, we’re looking at 3-4 outside linebackers.

Background: With three-time Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo and key reserves Rob Jackson and Darryl Tapp all set to become free agents 14 days from now, the Redskins have some huge decisions to make at this position. GM Bruce Allen said last week that he planned to meet with Orakpo’s agent to discuss an extension. He also said the team had not decided whether to apply the franchise tag to the 27-year-old pass rusher, who would instantly become the most attractive free agent OLB on the market if he’s not re-signed. Although we’re not sure what the Redskins intend to do about Orakpo, we can be certain of this: right now, Ryan Kerrigan is the only experienced OLB under contract for next season.

Best available: Orakpo, Redskins. He's coming off his best all around season since being drafted by Washington in 2009. He registered 10 sacks (seven in the final seven games), a career-high 60 tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown. 'Rak also defended four passes and recorded nine “stuffs.” The Redskins have labeled him as a priority to get under contract – and why not? He’s a homegrown star and both sides already know what to expect from the other.

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Best fit: If, for some reason, Orakpo were not retained, the Redskins should attempt to secure the second best option out there—the Steelers’ Jason Worilds. The soon-to-be 26-year-old started the final 10 games last season and finished with 63 combined tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles. Worilds was the 12th ranked OLB by (Orakpo was fourth). CBS NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora told 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh on Tuesday that he believes the Steelers will have “a hard time retaining” Worilds.

Best of the rest: Shaun Phillips (Broncos) recorded 10 sacks last season and has 79.5 in his 10 year career but turns 33 in May; Jackson (Redskins) is 28 and in 2012 enjoyed a career best 37 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four interceptions while replacing an injured Orakpo; Parys Haralson (Saints) is 30, has played 16 games in five of past six seasons but notched only 3.5 sacks in 2013.