1:10pm: Orakpo has no plans to sign the one-year franchise tender anytime soon, so it could be a while before his contract status for 2014 is set, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Zac Boyer of the Washington Times adds (via Twitter) that the Redskins used the non-exclusive tag, so Orakpo could sign an offer sheet with another suitor after March 11. It’s unlikely that any team will want to give up the required two first-round picks though.
12:35pm: The Redskins have officially used their 2014 franchise tag on free-agent-to-be Brian Orakpo, the team announced today (Twitter link). ESPN’s Ed Werder first reported this morning that the team was prepared to designate Orakpo as its franchise player.
Orakpo started 15 games for the Redskins last season, recording 60 tackles, 10 sacks, and returning an interception for a touchdown. The 27-year-old ranked fourth among 3-4 outside linebackers according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics, recording positive grades not only as a pass rusher, but also against the run and as a coverage man.
Orakpo and the Redskins were said to be working on a long-term deal, but remained far enough apart that an agreement today was unlikely. The franchise tag effectively takes Orakpo off the market, though he and the Redskins still have plenty of time to continue negotiating a multiyear contract. If Orakpo plays on a one-year franchise salary, he’ll likely be in line to earn about $11.46MM. If he and his reps push for a designation as a defensive end, the former 13th overall pick could be eligible for a $13.12MM salary, but I expect the more modest linebacker amount will apply to him.
With today’s franchise deadline looming, Orakpo becomes the fourth player this offseason to officially receive the tag, joining Greg Hardy (Panthers), Jimmy Graham (Saints), and Nick Folk (Jets). Orakpo is also the latest key defensive free agent retained by the Redskins, who had already locked up DeAngelo Hall and Chris Baker to multiyear deals. The team is also expected to try to re-sign linebacker Perry Riley.