- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allensaid Friday he expects to speak to the representatives of outside linebacker Brian Orakpoabout a new contract offer at some point this week.

“We like Brian,” Allen said. “There’s no doubt we like Brian, as well as a number of other players. If we were just one player short, that would be an easy question, but we have several [needs] that we’re looking to fill.”

Orakpo, 27, is set to become a free agent when the league year begins on March 11. He is considered among the best pass rushers available and is expected to command an average salary in the neighborhood of $10 million a year.

That’s similar to the expected value of the franchise designation, which would allow Washington to offer Orakpo a one-year contract for approximately $11 million. Allen said the Redskins “really haven’t gotten into those types of specifics yet.”

Orakpo said frequently during the season that he would like to remain with the Redskins, who took him with the No. 13 pick in the draft in 2009. The mutual affection between player and team helped the Redskins sign cornerback DeAngelo Hall to a four-year contract worth a reported $17 million earlier this week.

Hall, who has played with the Redskins for parts of the last six seasons, played last season under a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

“DeAngelo showed a lot of loyalty coming back last year and had an opportunity to make more with another team, but he wanted to stay with the Redskins, and we appreciated that,” Allen said. “Very early in the season, he said, ‘I want to be a Redskin, Bruce, so as soon as this season is over, let’s jump on it.’ And there was no doubt that our coaches wanted DeAngelo back, and his talents and his smarts really allow us to do different things on defense. That’s just one of those situations that worked well – that the player absolutely declared we wanted him to come back, and we declared we wanted to, and we feel we reached a fair agreement.”

The Redskins have 19 other players who are set to become free agents. Not all of them will be back; Allen said he expects to add “maybe 20, 25 players” through free agency and the draft.

Several general managers said Thursday that this year’s draft class is among the deepest in years, primarily because of the infusion of a record 98 underclassmen. Allen, whose Redskins won’t make their first selection until the second round, didn’t necessarily agree with that assessment.

“There’s opportunities in every draft,” he said. “We got fortunate getting [running back] Alfred Morris in the sixth round [in 2012], so there’s gonna be some good players that go in the sixth or seventh round this year. I just hope we’re the ones that find those guys.”