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Franchise tag could complicate deal between Redskins and Orakpo

Mar 4, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT


Now that the Redskins have tagged Brian Orakpo, the two sides can continue to negotiate a long-term contract. However, the very act of tagging the player and agreeing to pay him a guaranteed $11.45 million for the season may have thrown a significant monkey wrench into the negotiations.

The issue is that by essentially giving Orakpo a one-year contract the team has established his value at a minimum of $11.45 million per year. That makes him the third highest paid outside linebacker this year and a long-term deal averaging $11.45 million would make him the fourth highest-paid at his position.

And the expectations of the Orakpo camp could be higher than that. If they don’t agree to a long-term contract this year, the Redskins could tag him again next year. That would entitle Orakpo to 120 percent of what he made this year, or about $13.7 million guaranteed. That would bump his average annual salary up to just over $12.5 million per year for the two years. That would put him behind only Clay Matthews in terms of per year compensation.

Although the Redskins speak very highly of Orakpo and say that he’s a very valuable member of the team, they probably don’t think he’s worth more than Tamba Hali, Robert Mathis, Ahmad Brooks, Terrell Suggs, and others. Even with the cap at a record high $133 million this year and set to rise substantially for at least the next two years, the Redskins may not want to pay Orakpo that much more than his track record would warrant.

The establishment of a floor for negotiations may have been one reason why the Redskins waited until the last minute to apply the tag or even to let word leak that they were prepared to use it. As soon as they used the tag, they lost leverage.

We will see how this turns out. Both sides have some degree of leverage, which could mean it ends with a stalemate with Orakpo playing out the season on the tag salary.

  1. kenlinkins - Mar 4, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    This whole Orakpo affair is a bit confusing. The Reporters say the Redskins didn’t play Orakpo like a normal pass rushing 3-4 OLB but he still ended up with 10 sacks, but now this year the Redskins are going to let him lose on QB’s. We had no Plan B. Everyone said Jackson could not replace him, but Jackson held is own in 2012 and is now looking to leave for a shot at starting, Is Jackson the type of Free Agent teams are looking for, guys with a good shot of breaking out at his position? Orakpo is called often hurt but played 64 of 80 games, that 80%. Would other teams pay him more than $11.5 million on a long term contract in 2014, if not than what is the cost to the Redskins for finding out if he is the guy, if yes, than the Redskins got a discount by Tagging him. Now Orakpo’s camp said he is really a DE (who doesn’t rush the passer & covers down field?). Can it be that this is just smoke screen for player in a contract year? I do wonder what Orakpo’s camp is asking for and what the Redskins offered, but in any case, it look like RAK will be rushing QB again in DC, IMO that’s a good thing.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Mar 4, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Teams that sign good players to elite player contracts end up (back) in cap hell.

    If we could work out a front-loaded* deal that’s interesting enough to some other team with a nice draft pick to offer, that would be ideal.

    * We can afford a hit this year. Locking that in down the road is the problem.

  3. cowboyhater - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    If it complicates things, then Orakpo will be here this year, and that’s it…..I think they are wanting to see what impact Brandon Jenkins will have this year to make a decision if Orakpo is expendable. If we can get that same production on last years 5th rd draft pick, then I’m sure they will decide not sign Orakpo next year. Also, don’t forget we still have a draft coming, which could include a young pass rusher….

  4. scirishhoss - Mar 4, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    I’m more in favor of just playing this year to year. I think we have plenty of cap space to make improvements on the roster. We still have around 19 million, but I see quite a few cuts coming which will free up alot more money. If Orakpo won’t agree to a 4 or 5 year deal at 10 mil or less per year just play it year to year. Archives

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