Some notable websites are weighing in who teams might/should tag as their franchise players and two of them agree that the Redskins are likely to designate Brian Orakpo in that category.
Our corporate cousins at Pro Football Talk don’t think that the situation requires much thought.
If anyone gets tagged, it’ll be linebacker Brian Orakpo, who rebounded from a lost 2012 season with 10 sacks and a third career Pro Bowl berth. If the team can’t sign him to a long-term deal, the tag should be a no-brainer.
On NFL.com, Gregg Rosenthal doesn’t put tagging Orakpo in the “no brainer” category but he believes that the Redskins will decide to do it.
After years of overpaying other teams' free agents, it'd be crazy for the Redskins to let a rare homegrown product get away.
At this point in time, in fact, the franchise tag might work better for the Redskins than a long-term contract. He was healthy all of last year until he missed the season finale with a strained groin but there have to be some lingering health concerns after he suffered two torn pectoral muscles in span of about 10 months in 2012. Keeping him for one year to see if he is truly healthy guaranteeing him $20 million or more would be a wise fiscal move by the Redskins.
It would also be a good idea to make sure that he can be a consistently high performer. He had 11 sacks as a rookie in 2009 and then went for three years without recording double digit sacks (including his injury-shortened 2012 season). Although he hasn’t fallen flat in his “off” seasons, if he wants elite long-term money the Redskins should take advantage of this one-year window to see if he’s worth it.
While Orakpo almost surely would rather have the security of a long-term deal in his pocket, he might have to settle for a guaranteed $11 million this year and the possibility of the big deal down the road if he stays healthy and performs well.