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Will the Redskins have to overpay to keep Perry Riley?

Feb 27, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

Riley-vs-Eagles

Jim Haslett listed four of the Redskins’ pending free agents that he would like to be back. One of them, DeAngelo Hall, is signed, sealed, and delivered. We discussed the very quiet state of the Brian Orakpo negotiations yesterday. And the chatter is that the Redskins and Chris Baker are going well and it would be a surprise if they didn’t come to an agreement at some point.

That leaves inside linebacker Perry Riley and it appears that there is some distance between the Redskins and Riley’s camp. There seems to be little chance that Riley will be signed before free agency starts on March 11.

What happens in modern sports is that free agent prices that teams have to deal with are set by their dumbest competitors. In the past, the Redskins have been among the not-so-smart teams setting high player salaries. Now, they are in a situation where they could be paying for the reckless spending of others.

It has been reported that Riley wants a contract comparable to the one that the Dolphins gave Dannell Ellerbe a year ago. He got a deal worth $35 million over five years despite having started just 14 games in four NFL seasons.

As Evan Silva of Rotoworld, who ranked Riley as the 103rd-best free agent available, said that Riley isn’t worth half of what Ellerbe makes. And while the Redskins are willing to pay more than that, they will point to the deal that the now retired London Fletcher signed in 2012. The veteran signed for two years and an average of $5.4 million. At the time he signed the contract, Fletcher has 14 years of NFL experience and he was coming off of his third straight Pro Bowl appearance. It’s hard to argue that Riley is worth more than Fletcher.

What Riley ultimately gets paid may come down to supply and demand. There was a report that seven teams have contacted D’Qwell Jackson, released by the Browns yesterday. It is not known if the Redskins are one of those teams but you have to figure they have done their due diligence on Jackson. But the point is that there should be a reasonably healthy market at the inside linebacker position.

We know the Redskins have a high level of demand there with Fletcher retired, Riley on the free agent market, and the team having no viable starting options on the roster. They need to sign two starting caliber inside linebackers whether it’s Riley and someone else or two new players.

That leaves them in a weakened position in dealing with Riley. They may have to be willing to overpay to an extent to keep him so they don’t risk having to start all over in the heart of their defense.

But there is an upper limit to what they will pay. If another team thinks that Riley is worth an Ellerbe contract the Redskins could wish him well and move on to other options.

  1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    Overpaying for Riley makes even less sense than overpaying for Orakpo.

    Hey fellas, we could have finished 3 and 13 without you.
    ~

  2. internetcareer - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    if the Redskins aren’t going to sign Riley or Orakpo and Bowen is injured and Carriker may or may not come back….they better go after Decker from Denver and draft offensive line because they are going to have to score 35 points per game every week.

  3. kjp0810 - Feb 27, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    Riley is replaceable. He was one of the many players last season who missed a lot of tackles and still has not developed good coverage skills. There will be plenty of veteran ILBs to choose from in free agency. Just let the market settle and Riley will sign a cap friendly deal along the lines of what he is actually worth ($2-$3 mil). It’s not like his is going to have a lot of suitors.

    • alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:39 PM

      Yea no one in the league will overpay Riley, let him walk and test the waters, he’ll come back.

      • rcjur - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:26 PM

        YES….he will come back!! Money isn’t there….he got beat too much on tape all season.

  4. darrynhyman - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    have to get out of the habit of overpaying for players, as the first blogger said, it makes no sense to overpay for Riley or Orakpo…they are not impact players and can be replaced. This notion of having to pay for past sins as Tandler has stated before doesn’t make a lot of sense. You don’t keep doing wrong because you have done wrong before….you’ll stay in the same place. If we suffer in the short term for not overpaying for players like Rak and Riley, we’ll be better off long term. We’re not winning a SB in 2014, so if by chance we can’t replace Rak’s jaw dropping 10 sacks or Riley’s volume of tkls 5-6 yds upfield, we’ll still be a rebuilding Team hopefully preparing for a consistent run of success in the future

    • skinsfan5182 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:29 AM

      I kinda have to disagree on saying that Orakpo isn’t an impact player. The defense feeds off him and his presence on the field. Having Orakpo makes Kerrigan’s job easier, that’s why Haslett wants him back. Opposing team coaches have to gameplan for Orakpo.

      • alextwrs - Feb 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM

        Kerrigan had his best season without RAK on the field.

        • Rich Tandler - Feb 28, 2014 at 9:43 AM

          And are you saying there was cause and effect at work there?

          > >

        • alextwrs - Feb 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

          Im not sure what caused it other than right place right time in some instances but, the effect was a stellar season by him following londons lead. I will say I am not against resigning RAK, but I am against paying him over ten million a yr. I wouldnt mind him getting franchised and signed by another team in order to get picks but, do you think there is another team out there willing to pay him over ten million a yr. I don’t, the league looks at the skins roster as overpaid underperformers. If i hear ten sacks again today I m gonna go crazy, Its ten sacks, not ten turnovers, not interceptions, not forced fumbles, “sacks”, 7 sacks and 3 raider QB gifts.

  5. alextwrs - Feb 27, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    If we pay anyone, we pay D’Qwell, go get this guy, he is worth the money we are talking about paying RAK.

    • rcjur - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      Couldn’t AGREE more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. O - Feb 27, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    I’m trying to figure out people are dismissing Rak’s 10 sacks like it’s insignificant. The difference between him and being in the top 10 is a whopping 1.5 sacks. A majority of your sack leaders are defensive ends. The exception would be Aldon Smith and Mathis getting around 20 sacks the past two years. Clay Matthews had 3 more sacks in 2012. We’re talking about a miniscule difference here.

    Just imagine Rak with the Cowboys or the Giants.

    • maxpower65 - Feb 28, 2014 at 1:53 AM

      I agree. And people who don’t appreciate Rak forget to take into account the number of QB hurries he gets and fail to consider the number of rushing attempts a player has when comparing stats of accumulated sacks and hurries – e.g. I doubt Matthews does as much pass coverage.

      Also, if Rak wasn’t very good he wouldn’t be ranked in the top 5 available free agents this year and he and Kerrigan wouldn’t be ranked among the top rushing duos in the NFL.

      • O - Feb 28, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Thank you!!! I completely agree

      • darrynhyman - Feb 28, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        He is ranked in the Top 5 because this is not a stellar FA class. All the stats about hurries and his rush attempts are all fine and dandy but what can’t be debated are his lack of impact plays. 10 sacks is decent, but when are those 10 sacks happening? They were not on 3rd down or in the 4th qtr when it means something. These hurries and rush stats that everyone wants to throw around now to support Rak…when was the last time any of us remember a qb being hurried or hit as they released the ball on a 3rd down or in the 4th qtr. It doesn’t happen, so we can make the excuses about his rush attempts or his number of hurries if we want…bottom line is that he not a great player…just pretty good. If he is willing to take 7-8 per year….sign him up…for me, his lack of impact is just not worth anything more than that and not even 11 for one year. We have too many holes to fill

        • maxpower65 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:04 AM

          Rak is currently listed #2 out of 101 available free agents on NFL.com. He is listed as a ‘Tier 1 Difference Maker’. “2) Brian Orakpo, LB, Washington Redskins: A three-time Pro Bowl pick and prototypical 3-4 edge rusher, Orakpo is still in his prime at age 27. Don’t expect him to hit the open market.”

          Ref: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000329702/article/top-101-nfl-free-agents-for-2014

        • maxpower65 - Mar 1, 2014 at 3:57 AM

          In another article on NFL.com about which players should receive the franchise tag they think the Redskins should tag him: “After years of overpaying other teams’ free agents, it’d be crazy for the Redskins to let a rare homegrown product get away.”

          Ref: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000326059/article/franchise-tag-primer-predictions-for-all-32-nfl-teams

        • maxpower65 - Mar 1, 2014 at 4:13 AM

          Isn’t a QB hurry, a sack, a defended pass, intercept or pick-six an impact play? It he doesn’t matter when it occurs it still affects the outcome of that play, which could otherwise have been a TD.

          Also, if Rak isn’t asked to rush in a specific ‘third down or fourth quarter situation’ he can’t make what you deem to be an “impact play”‘ which appears to only be sacks late in the fourth quarter or in certain third down situations.

          You can’t take statistics in isolation because they don’t show the complete picture – e.g. Some CBs effectively shut down their WR so they might not get thrown at and thus might not get many interceptions. Just compare Megatrons 2012 stats to Eric Decker’s and one might wrongly conclude that Decker is a better receiver.

  7. shermanp79 - Feb 27, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    I was thinking 4 million a year for 4 years. Something in that range. He is NOT worth CRAZY money. He has been solid and improved last year. I would like him back more because as you point out being familiar with him and he with our Defense. Plus we want to keep our young guys that showed growth. Maybe the Skins let him search for a couple deals and see where he stands then. I don’t see him being worth more than 4 million but if over paying him a bit from there is needed I guess I can live with it. I don’t think more than 5 million should be given. Maybe we need to really think about signing a guy and drafting one. I think this situation could be a bigger problem than RAK. The Skins need to be smart. This building process won’t be done this year. The last thing we want is CAP HELL in 3 yrs.

  8. rcjur - Feb 27, 2014 at 9:24 PM

    The names for new signs at LB should be D. Jackson and J. Dunbar. Better than what we have. Plus it will bring more attitude. Do this and let R. Jackson walk and get Riley in. Do what you think is best with Orakpo but I would target both Jackson and Dunbar get on this team!

  9. skinsfan5182 - Feb 28, 2014 at 5:25 AM

    I’m hearing he wants a 5 year $35m contract. I’m sorry but he is not worth that much. His worth is more in the range of 5 year $20m. what has Riley done that was that memorable or made you saw wow he’s a great player!
    If he’s firm and won’t budge on his number then let him walk and get a compensatory pick next year. This is a deep draft with hidden gems in pretty much every round. I would like to see us make a push to sign D’Qwell Jackson.

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