Now that the Redskins have tagged Brian Orakpo, the two sides can continue to negotiate a long-term contract. However, the very act of tagging the player and agreeing to pay him a guaranteed $11.45 million for the season may have thrown a significant monkey wrench into the negotiations.
The issue is that by essentially giving Orakpo a one-year contract the team has established his value at a minimum of $11.45 million per year. That makes him the third highest paid outside linebacker this year and a long-term deal averaging $11.45 million would make him the fourth highest-paid at his position.
And the expectations of the Orakpo camp could be higher than that. If they don’t agree to a long-term contract this year, the Redskins could tag him again next year. That would entitle Orakpo to 120 percent of what he made this year, or about $13.7 million guaranteed. That would bump his average annual salary up to just over $12.5 million per year for the two years. That would put him behind only Clay Matthews in terms of per year compensation.
Although the Redskins speak very highly of Orakpo and say that he’s a very valuable member of the team, they probably don’t think he’s worth more than Tamba Hali, Robert Mathis, Ahmad Brooks, Terrell Suggs, and others. Even with the cap at a record high $133 million this year and set to rise substantially for at least the next two years, the Redskins may not want to pay Orakpo that much more than his track record would warrant.
The establishment of a floor for negotiations may have been one reason why the Redskins waited until the last minute to apply the tag or even to let word leak that they were prepared to use it. As soon as they used the tag, they lost leverage.
We will see how this turns out. Both sides have some degree of leverage, which could mean it ends with a stalemate with Orakpo playing out the season on the tag salary.
In the third quarter of the Redskins’ Week 3 game against the Giants, New York drove to a first and goal at the Washington 10. A Trent Murphy sack and two incompletions later, Josh Brown came in and kicked a field goal.
Since then, opponents have had goal to go situations 12 times. They have scored touchdowns on every one of them.
The stop against the Giants was one of just two all year. They had one against the Cowboys in Week 2. Their opponents’ goal to go success rate is 90.5 percent. That’s the second worst in the NFL.
The failures have been costly. On Sunday, the Cardinals recovered a Kirk Cousins fumble and returned it to the Washington 10. The Redskins led 13-10 at the time and coming out of that situation with the game tied would have been large. But on third and goal at the six Carson Palmer hit Michael Floyd with a touchdown pass and the Cardinals had both the lead and the momentum.
Opponents usually haven’t had to work that hard. Teams have run 21 plays in goal to go and they have 10 touchdowns.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys got to goal to go three times. A stop on any one of them would have been a boost to the Redskins and would have changed the dynamic of the game. But Dallas was three for three.
The goal to go problems are a subset of the Redskins’ problems with red zone defense in general. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 27 of 40 red zone trips, a 67.5 percent success rate that puts the Redskins 30th in the NFL.
The NFC East was a beast for a while, but in recent weeks, the division is fading. All the teams outside of Dallas lost this weekend, and losing streaks are popping up throughout the I-95 Corridor. Here's the NFC East update:
- The Minnesota Vikings gave the Dallas Cowboys all they could handle last Thursday night, and yet, the Cowboys won 17-15. Dak Prescott was not impressive in Minneapolis, but Ezekiel Elliott was and the Cowboys defense did just enough to slow the Vikings terrible offense. At 11-1, Dallas has clinched a playoff berth, and with a date in New York this Sunday night, Jerry Jones' crew has a chance to avenge their only loss of the year, which came in Week 1 to the Giants.
- It seemed expectations met reality for the New York Giants last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ben McAdoo's team had won six games in a row, but largely, faced poor competition. In their first tough test since the leaves started falling, Eli Manning's offense could not get going and the Giants fell to 8-4, still in possession of the first NFC Wild Card spot. Even on their win streak, the Giants didn't pass many eye tests. Beat Dallas on Sunday night and all that changes.
- Two weeks ago the Washington Redskins were one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Winners of two straight and with a surging Kirk Cousins, the Redskins marched to Dallas on Thanksgiving and gave the Cowboys a real test. Despite the loss, Washington still held its spot with the second NFC Wild Card. After a deflating loss in Arizona, now the 'Skins are on the outside looking in of the playoffs. Good news for Jay Gruden and company: The team can get right back in the thick of things this week in Philly, and the remaining four-game schedule looks advantageous.
- While the Redskins have lost two in a row and are in danger of falling out of the playoff race, the Philadelphia Eagles have lost three in a row and look to be falling apart. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is devoid of offensive weapons to work with and the Eagles have been outscored 85-42 in their last three games. Philly can get their first NFC East win this week with the 'Skins visiting, but it will take a different effort than they've shown in the last month.
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