While Jimmy Graham struck an 11th hour agreement with the Saints on a long-term deal, two of his fellow franchise tag recipients didn’t sign multiyear extensions in advance of today’s deadline. Instead, Brian Orakpo of the Redskins and Greg Hardy of the Panthers will play the 2014 season on one-year contracts, and will be eligible for unrestricted free agency again in 2015.
Both Orakpo and Hardy signed their one-year franchise tenders several months ago, so no further negotiations with their respective clubs are necessary this year. Orakpo, who ranked fourth among 3-4 outside linebackers in 2013 according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required), will earn an $11.455MM salary for 2014, while Hardy, who has racked up 26 total sacks in the last two seasons, has a ’14 salary worth $13.116MM.
Orakpo and Hardy will be eligible for the franchise tag again next March, but given how pricey those tags will be, a contract extension or a trip to the free agent market appears more likely for each pass rusher. The 2014 season figures to go a long way to determining each player’s long-term future with his club, especially considering the Redskins employ two more promising outside linebackers in Ryan Kerrigan and second-round rookie Trent Murphy, while the Panthers has already heavily invested in their other defensive end, Charles Johnson.
Hardy spent most of Tuesday’s deadline day in court, where he is defending himself on misdemeanor assault charges, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer has been detailing on his Twitter account.