At some point in the next several months it is likely that Brian Orakpo will sign his franchise tag tender. Given that he and the Redskins were not close to an agreement on a long-term contract prior to the team using the tag, the chances are that he plays out the 2014 for the $11.455 million franchise tag salary and becomes a free agent again in 2015.
If he has a season similar to the one he had last year—15 games played, 10 sacks, 40 QB pressure, an interception and a touchdown—the Redskins and Orakpo will be right back to where they are now, with a serious disagreement over what he’s worth on a long-term contract. If he has a better year with maybe 15 sacks and several forced turnovers, there still is likely to be some distance between Orakpo and the Redskins when it comes to a long-term deal. Orakpo will be entering his age 29 season and the team will be reluctant to hand Orakpo a five-year deal with over $20 million in guaranteed money.
The solution could well be a second year with the franchise tag for Orakpo. A second tag calls for a salary of either that year’s franchise tag amount or 120 percent of the what the player made the previous, whichever is higher. Since the tag salary is unlikely to jump 20 percent a second tag for Orakpo would probably mean the latter calculation would be used. That would mean a salary of about $13.7 million.
That’s a lot but it actually would be a slightly higher percentage of the 2015 cap, which is expected to be at least $140 million.
That would make Orakpo part of a very interesting 2016 offseason. There would be some huge decisions to make. Orakpo would be a free agent. So would Ryan Kerrigan, assuming that the Redskins exercise their 2015 option on his contract. Alfred Morris’ rookie contract will be up as will Trent Williams’. Robert Griffin III will be going into his contract option year and he will carry a cap charge in the neighborhood of $15 million.
We’ll have more details of that scenario in the coming days and, unless a lot changes, the coming two years.