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Five things you need to know about the Orakpo tag

Mar 4, 2014, 5:06 AM EST

Orakpo's-back

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 4, seven days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

Here are five angles on the Redskins’ decision to put the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo.

1. Why did they do it?—In the end, they didn’t want to lose a home-grown, very good player at a very important position on the defense even if they perhaps would be overpaying him to an extent. They would rather have less cap space to work with than have to start over again when it comes to getting pressure on the opposing QB.

2. What does it do to the cap?—The move leaves them with less than $19 million in cap space, although they do have the ability to create more.

3. What are the ripple effects?—Ryan Kerrigan will be able to stay on the left side of the line, where he is more comfortable. But Rob Jackson, the only remaining member of the Redskins’ draft class of 2008, is unlikely to be back. He will probably head to a team where he will have an opportunity to start or at least have a more defined role.

4. Is there a fight coming?—There have been some reports that Orakpo’s camp will fight to have him designated a defensive end for tag salary purposes rather than a linebacker. That would mean higher pay to the tune of an extra $1.66 million. It seems doubtful that he will be successful but that won’t prevent his camp from trying.

5. What’s next?—Orakpo technically will still be a free agent when that opens up on March 11 and we’ll see if another team is willing to give up two first-round picks for the right to be able to pay Orakpo in excess of $10 million per year. Since that is highly unlikely to happen, Orakpo will have to decide when to sign his tender. When he does that $11.5 million salary becomes guaranteed and he must attend mandatory minicamp and training camp. He could opt not to sign and attempt to create pressure for a long-term deal by holding out.

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Timeline

—It’s been 65 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 187 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Free agency starts 7; Offseason workouts start 34; NFL Draft 65

In case you missed it

  1. abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 6:05 AM

    Rich, I thought I read that players who sign the tag have until July (maybe when training camp opens?) to still work out a long term deal with the team that franchised them, is this true?

  2. internetcareer - Mar 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    Rich why would you say the player has leverage to hold out? Life goes on…the NFL goes on. It is true that the player can hold out, but it is not leverage. He gets no money, fame, success, he is forgotten. He stays home and waits for the phone to ring while his team plays a kids game and they all make money while he gets a fat zero in his bank account. I don’t know about you, but to me, that doesn’t sound like leverage.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      It’s not a whole lot of leverage. But there’s really no downside. OK, he won’t collect the few hundred bucks a week per diem players get during OTAs and the training camp. But he doesn’t lose a dime of the big money until he misses a regular season game and the chances of him doing that are very far fetched. And by sitting out he doesn’t risk injury that could affect his value in 2015.

      Again, it’s not much but it’s about all the player has.

      > >

  3. kenlinkins - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:19 AM

    Rich, Where is the down side to Orakpo if he doesn’t sign by July 15th? He doesn’t get a pay check until the first game in Sept, so he doesn’t miss any money until then. Do the rules change after July 15th other than they can not sign a long term deal? Can he wait until anytime he wants to just join the team by signing the tender offer? What happens if he gets injured before signing the tender or worst yet (for the Redskins) he gets the old “hammy” or “head aches” and won’t play after signing? What does that do to a locker room? Seems to me if he wants to, he can cause a ton of problems for a new coach trying to build a unit that plays together. IMO Orakpo can A: Sign and play for a new contract in 2015, B: Sign and play trying not to get hurt which would hurt his next contract, C: Sign and not play due to injury (grabs the old hammy in game one) or D; Not sign all year, not play and not get paid at all. Sounds like a ton of drama coming the Redskins way!

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      I think you’re severely overstating things. Not signing the tag until shortly before/after the July 15 long-term deal deadline is very common in the NFL. Will the media and, especially, fans make some drama out it? Sure. But the truth is it’s business as usual.

      > >

      • kenlinkins - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        So, even if Orakpo and his camp are not happy about the Tag and might try minor push back like saying he is really a DE, when all is said and done, this is just standard stuff, they will continue to try and ink a long term deal until July 15th and if they can not, Orakpo will sign and play with the Tag?

  4. Michael Thomas - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Rich,

    Could a team offer something other than two first round picks for a player that has been franchise tagged? For example, could a team offer a first and third this year, and a second next year, or whatever the equivalent to two first round picks would be? If so, could this be a possibility, and what would fair compensation be in a situation like this?

    Thanks Rich.

    • Rich Tandler - Mar 4, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Technically no but there is a workaround. Rak could sign the tender and then get traded like any other player for any compensation the Redskins and the other team agree upon. It would then be up to Orakpo and the new team to negotiate a new deal.

      But it’s so unlikely to happen that it’s really not worth going through a bunch of mental gymnastics over it. The tagged him to keep him, not to trade him.

      • Michael Thomas - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:00 AM

        Thanks Rich.

        • Michael Thomas - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM

          I agree that it is unlikely that they will trade Orakpo, but in the off chance that they did, who do you think would be the likely suitors? Orakpo can play 3-4 or 4-3, so that should create some interest.

        • abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:26 AM

          Teams who would have interest in Rak, since the ungrateful Redskins nation & media thinks he’s a dime a dozen:

          1. Cowboys
          2. Eagles
          3. Giants
          4. Bears
          5. Vikings
          6. Packers
          7. Falcons
          8. Saints
          9. Bucs
          10. Cardinals
          11. Broncos
          12. Patriots
          13. Bills
          14. Jets
          15. Bengals
          16. Jaguars
          17. Colts
          18. Texans
          19. Titans
          20. Raiders
          21. Chargers

          Rak has such a great reputation around the league and as a lunch pale work eithic who guy who will do whatever the team needs to have the team win and pass rushers that can get double digit sacks twice in 5 years with 2 of the others being 8.5 and 9.5, that 66% of the league would want/need him on their roster, including the entire NFC east!

  5. Michael Thomas - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Never said I really want to trade Orakpo. I am trying to think of the teams that have interest, cap space necessary, and the right ammunition to make the trade. For example, you listed the cowboys who couldn’t even try, since they will never have the cap space to make it work, and the Texans would have to give the first pick in the draft (not likely).

    • abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      I thought you wanted to know who’d be interested in Orakpo if he wasn’t in a redskins uniform – my apologies.

      And, I actually think the Cowboys would cut Ware in favor of Orakpo, if they had a chance to get Orakpo.

      It’s only in redskins country that he isn’t viewed as worth what he got.

      Most people understand how hard it is to get 10 sacks in a season who’ve played football in their lives and he’s done it twice in 5 years. And one of the years he didn’t have a chance because of injury.

      • Michael Thomas - Mar 4, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        Sorry that I didn’t better explain the question. That said, even if the cowboy’s let Ware go (and I think at least one other) to make room for Orakpo, would they then give up the necessary draft picks as well? It doesn’t seem like there are many teams that would be able to handle the salary, and the necessary draft picks without letting go of players they view as valuable.

        • abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 12:06 PM

          Well now I’m sorry if I didn’t make myself clear – lol.

          I meant of Rak wasn’t franchised and was a total unrestricted free agent right now.

          I’m saying the Cowboys would certainly have an interest.

          I’m with Rich in the trade idea – that ain’t happening

      • kenlinkins - Mar 4, 2014 at 12:15 PM

        For me, It is about Game Changing plays at OLB, CB, FS, QB, WR that were missing in 2013. Orakpo is not the only one who has not lived up to that standard. I really want to see how he does this year without Shanahan being involved, but there are many on that list. This team fell so fast in 2013 that I have a hard time explaining it to my friends who follow other teams. It made no sense to me, RG3 bad year, O-Line Bad year, DB’s and D-line Bad year, ILB’s lost in space, Special teams NO FIRE or pride. How did that happen so fast with so few changes from 2012? IMO something happened to our locker room again, like we saw in 2010 but we know that there were a few bad guys in that locker room and all that was cleared out. So, I can only point to Coach Shanahan and or RG3 so a primary reason for going 3-13. I hope is that is was the one we fired!

        • abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 12:26 PM

          We were overrated in 2012, that’s how it happened.

          The team got on a lucky hot streak and for the first time since 07, we got lucky breaks on our 7 game win streak.

          Rg3 being injured had a lot to do with our team collapse in 2013 – it of course. Having the worst special teams in the NFL also had a lot to do with it. Fletcher’s age, injuries to 2 of our top 3 receiving threats.

          On paper though – you’d look at the 2013 team and think they’d be entree than 2012. Our secondary – on paper was better, Rak is better than Jackson at pass rushing. Etc, etc

        • Rich Tandler - Mar 4, 2014 at 12:28 PM

          I’ll also add that it’s relatively easy to get a team to a successful season. The real hard part is sustaining the success. Something Shanahan was not good at after the back to back Super Bowls.

          > >

        • abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 12:34 PM

          I forgot how much easier our schedule was in 2012 vs 2013. In 2012 we were playing a last place schedule – 2013, we were playing a first place schedule vs 2012 division winners. And the AFC west looked like a cake walk before the season, but it ended up being one of the ever divisions in football

  6. greed - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:44 PM

    im still bringing rob jack back , never know about injuries in this leauge and he shouldnt be in high demand

  7. greed - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    rich is r.jack really out the door b. Allen complained about debth he the perect back up , haz need to find a way to get all 3 rushers un field at same time

    • abanig - Mar 4, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      I agree. On definite passing downs – 2nd & long, 3rd & long Haz needs to have Kerrigan slide into the 5-technique and Rob Jackson can come in and rush or preferably act like he’s rushing and drop into coverage as Rak and Kerrigan rush

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