Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 4, seven days before the start of NFL free agency.
Here are five angles on the Redskins’ decision to put the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo.
1. Why did they do it?—In the end, they didn’t want to lose a home-grown, very good player at a very important position on the defense even if they perhaps would be overpaying him to an extent. They would rather have less cap space to work with than have to start over again when it comes to getting pressure on the opposing QB.
2. What does it do to the cap?—The move leaves them with less than $19 million in cap space, although they do have the ability to create more.
3. What are the ripple effects?—Ryan Kerrigan will be able to stay on the left side of the line, where he is more comfortable. But Rob Jackson, the only remaining member of the Redskins’ draft class of 2008, is unlikely to be back. He will probably head to a team where he will have an opportunity to start or at least have a more defined role.
4. Is there a fight coming?—There have been some reports that Orakpo’s camp will fight to have him designated a defensive end for tag salary purposes rather than a linebacker. That would mean higher pay to the tune of an extra $1.66 million. It seems doubtful that he will be successful but that won’t prevent his camp from trying.
5. What’s next?—Orakpo technically will still be a free agent when that opens up on March 11 and we’ll see if another team is willing to give up two first-round picks for the right to be able to pay Orakpo in excess of $10 million per year. Since that is highly unlikely to happen, Orakpo will have to decide when to sign his tender. When he does that $11.5 million salary becomes guaranteed and he must attend mandatory minicamp and training camp. He could opt not to sign and attempt to create pressure for a long-term deal by holding out.
—It’s been 65 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 187 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Free agency starts 7; Offseason workouts start 34; NFL Draft 65
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