The Washington Redskins used the franchise tag on outside linebacker Brian Orakpo. There has been talk over the past few days that the Redskins organization was unsure about offering a long-term contract to Orakpo. But using the franchise tag gives them some options moving forward, and they could still sign him long-term.
Orakpo’s 2013 season was a microcosm of his career so far with the Redskins. He started off the seasons slowly, making a few nice plays, but did not look the part of a franchise player. But then in the second half of the season, Orakpo emerged as not only the Redskins best defensive player, but possibly the best player on the team. So the Redskins couldn’t just let him walk.
He finished the season with 7.5 sacks in his final six games of the season. If Orakpo had played like that the entire time, I think the Redskins would have definitely signed him to a long-term deal. But now, unless another team trades for Orakpo, he will have to prove himself over the entirety of the 2014 season to earn a long-term deal.
Orakpo will earn $11.455 million next season, and will be expected to play like a dominant player for the Redskins. They now have more time to negotiate a long-term deal, but if the tow sides can’t come to terms they can let the season play itself out , and can do this all over again, next off-season.