With free agency slated to (officially) begin Tuesday afternoon, Atlanta has emerged as the front runner to land Orakpo, according to Diana Russini of NBC4 in Washington D.C.
I'm hearing that Atlanta is the front runner for signing Brian Orakpo. #Falcons— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) March 9, 2015
Late last night and today, however, there have been multiple reports refuting the idea that the Falcons are the favorite.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter, the team has been actively interested in Orakpo, but price was a sticking point. If Orakpo's price has gone up, it's entirely possible the Falcons are now out of the running.
The 28-year-old outside linebacker, who's spent his entire NFL career in D.C., previously discussed an extension with Washington, but the two sides failed to agree on a new deal.
If Orakpo can avoid serious injury, he should remain productive for the foreseeable future. However, there are some well-founded of concerns regarding his health: Orakpo has torn pectoral muscles on three occasions since turning pro and has missed 24 games since 2012.
The three-time Pro Bowler finished 2014 with only 0.5 sacks in nine contests, however he did earn 10 the year before. Orakpo has tallied no less than 8.5 sacks in each of the past four years he's avoided IR, so if he can stay on the field, he could be a significant upgrade for the Falcons. But it's looking less and less likely he'll actually wind up in Atlanta.