The Washington Redskins are officially on the clock with defensive end Brian Orakpo. Orakpo, the team’s leading pass rusher, is set to become an unrestricted free agent next month, giving the Redskins have until March 3 to decide whether or not they want to use the coveted franchise tag on the three time pro bowler.
This is fairly foreign territory for the Redskins who have only tagged one player (Fred Davis in 2012), since its inception in 2007. Should the Skins decide to tag Orakpo, they would be looking at paying him pay around $10 million in base salary for the 2014 season. General manager Bruce Allen has reiterated that the Redskins would love to work a long team deal out, but that negotiations with his agent have stalled. Allen also said that this situation is more complicated because the Redskins have twenty one free agents and multiple positions to fill. Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett that resigning Orakpo remains one of the team’s top priorities.
With a depleted defensive unit, the Redskins can ill afford to lose Orakpo who had a resurgent year with ten sacks and sixty tackles. Those numbers might increase significantly under a new defensive scheme that allows him to rush the passer on a more consistent basis, something that was disbarred under the Mike Shanahan regime.
The entire organization should be exhausting all options to ensure that Orakpo stays with the team long term. The Redskins have an atrocious history of over paying for free agents and it would be unwise to venture down that path. Instead, they should take care of their homegrown talent and set the precedent for incoming rookies to come that hard work will be rewarded. Best case scenario sees the Redskins work out a long term incentive laden deal before March 3, otherwise you can expect to Orakpo get slapped with the franchise tag.