With the clock ticking towards two deadlines, things remain very quiet in contract negotiations between the Redskins and linebacker Brian Orakpo.
The closer of the two deadlines is next Monday at 4 p.m. That’s how long the Redskins have to put the franchise player tag on Orakpo. The tag would cost the Redskins a one-year salary in excess of $11 million but it would make it highly unlikely that the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker could change teams.
If the Redskins do apply the tag, the second deadline is essentially moot. Free agency starts at 4 p.m. on March 11 but with Orakpo tied to the Redskins that really won’t matter. But if the Redskins decide against making him their franchise player, Orakpo will be free to sign elsewhere.
Our friends at Rotoworld have Orakpo ranked as the fifth-best player who is slated to be a free agent. Since pass rushers are always at a premium, he would be looking for a contract that pays at least what the $11 million franchise tag salary would bring. The chances are pretty good that he could get it.
The Redskins have many needs on both sides of the ball and letting Orakpo walk would create another one at perhaps the most important position on the defense. On the other hand, the $11 million it could cost to tag him could help fill a lot of other needs.
It has long been thought that the Redskins will use the franchise tag on Orakpo if they are unable to sign him to a long-term deal. However, there has been no indication that they will do that. Usually at this point, five days prior to the deadline, the potential use of the tag comes out as a negotiating ploy to push the player towards a deal. Other than Bruce Allen saying last week that he intended to talk to Orkapo’s camp at the NFL Combine, we’ve heard the sound of crickets out of the negotiations.
That can be taken as a good sign as the two sides are not negotiating through the media. Or it could mean that the Redskins want Orakpo on a long-term deal or not at all. Perhaps they don’t think he’s worth the franchise tag money and they’re willing to let him test the market and see what his true value is.
We will see if that is a chance they are willing to take.