With a bit over 20 million in salary cap space, the Washington Redskins had to figure out what to do with linebacker Brian Orakpo. Orakpo is coming off of his third pro-bowl season and first full year since tearing his pectoral muscle in 2012. The former Texas Longhorn recorded 10 sacks in 2013, and proved to be a valuable asset to the Redskins defense.
Washington has now decided to place the franchise tag on Orakpo, awarding him 11.455 million for a one-year deal. The tag will guarantee Washington’s rights to Orakpo through 2015 if the two sides are unable to agree on a long-term contract prior to the July 15th deadline. If the tag is used, it will allow the Redskins another year to work on constructing a deal with the 27-year old. Also, it gives Washington a better gauge as to Orakpo’s long-term value with the team. Since being drafted in 2009, Orakpo has recorded 39.5 sacks since, and has solidified himself as one of the core players within the Washington defense.
Although, the two sides have yet to begin heavy contract negotiations, I do expect them to come to deal prior to the 2014-15 season. Washington has few stars on the defensive side, and should do anything to keep Orakpo in the burgundy and gold. With the free agency period starting soon, the Redskins and Orakpo must come to terms prior to Washington’s hunt to find a number two receiver.