The deadline for franchise players to negotiate a long-term contract with their teams is today at 4 p.m. It seems very likely that that deadline will pass without the Redskins and Brian Orakpo agreeing to a new deal.
The team tagged the Pro Bowl outside linebacker just before the deadline last March. According to reports the Redskins and Orakpo were not close in their negotiations on a long-term contract at the time and there have been no indications that the gap has been closed significantly since then.
Orakpo signed his tender prior to the start of the offseason program and he was a full participant. That essentially put him under contract for one year with a fully guaranteed salary of $11.45 million.
That’s not a bad living but Orakpo still wants the security of a long-term contract. In fact, he believes he deserves it.
"I have to prove myself again, huh?" Orakpo said in April. "I don't have to prove myself to anybody. I'm already proven in this league. I don't have to prove anything to anybody. That goes for fans, that goes for media. Anybody. I'm well-proven in this league. If it doesn't work out, then it doesn't work out, but I don't have to prove anything to anybody."
That’s not a view that is held by everyone. He is generally considered to be a notch or two below the elite pass rushers in the game. Orakpo’s career high of 11 sacks in a season came during his rookie year in 2009. Last year he had 10 sacks plus his first career interception and touchdown. But he forced no fumbles, fueling critics who say that he doesn’t make game changing plays.
If the today’s deadline does pass without a deal, the Redskins and Orakpo will find themselves in essentially the same situation in 2015 as they faced this year. If the team and player can’t agree on a long-term deal next spring, the franchise tag would be an option again. That would be more expensive; a second tag comes with a salary that is at least 120 percent of the player’s salary the previous year. In this case it would be $13.7 million.