10:59am: It’s “highly doubtful” that the Redskins and Orakpo will agree on a long-term deal today, a source tells Maske (Twitter link).
9:50am: The Redskins are still trying to hammer out a long-term contract with Brian Orakpo, but if no agreement can be reached today, the team is prepared to use its franchise tag on the free-agent-to-be, reports ESPN’s Ed Werder (via Twitter). The deadline for clubs to designate franchise players is 3:00pm CT today.
There have been varying reports on the Redskins’ plans for Orakpo within the last several days. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com wrote on Saturday that the team was unlikely to franchise its standout pass rusher, and La Canfora’s report came on the heels of one from the Washington Post that suggested the Redskins had yet to extend a formal offer to Orakpo.
Still, Mike Jones and Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported today that the team was in final deliberations of what they describe as “a really close call” on Orakpo. According to Jones and Maske, the Redskins like Orakpo and want to keep him, but there may be some disagreement within the organization about the merits of using the franchise tag on the veteran linebacker, or locking him up to a pricey long-term deal. One of the Post’s sources said he suspects Washington will franchise Orakpo, while another said he wouldn’t be surprised if the club allows him to depart via free agency.
Based on Werder’s report, it sounds as if the scales in Washington are tipping toward retaining Orakpo, but we’ll have to wait and see what the team decides.