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Need to Know: Five ripple effects of the Orakpo tag

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Need to Know: Five ripple effects of the Orakpo tag

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, March 5, six days before the start of NFL free agency.

Nickel coverage

Nothing happens in a vacuum in the salary-capped environment of the NFL. Here are five ripple effects from the decision to tag Brian Orakpo:

1. Ryan Kerrigan safe for now—As noted yesterday, Kerrigan prefers to play on the left side and with Orakpo on the team he will be able to stay there. But also, Orakpo being on the tag rather than on a long-term contract means that there is a chance for Kerrigan to stay past the 2015 season.

2. Michael Bennett and other edge rushers on the market will get paid—Six franchise and transition tags were handed out in the NFL this year and half of them went to edge rushers. In addition to Orakpo, Carolina’s Greg Hardy (franchise tag) and the Steelers’ Jason Worilds (transition) were taken off the market. That development is good for the likes of the Seahawks’ Bennett and the Bengals’ Michael Johnson as the lowering of supply in the market will increase demand for their services and, therefore, increase the dollars in their contracts.

3. More cap casualties—This already has been bad news for Sav Rocca and it will be for some other marginal veterans on the roster. Anyone with a cap number over the minimum could be in danger of being released to create more cap room.

4. Younger and cheaper—And on the other side of the coin, the $11.5 million in cap space that Orakpo occupies could prevent the Redskins from brining back free agent veterans like Reed Doughty and Darryl Tapp. Again, younger and cheaper players will be signed instead.

5. Heat is on Haslett—I wrote a post about this yesterday but it bears repeating. There simply will be no excuse for the defense not to be solid with the unit’s best player on the field.

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Timeline

—It’s been 66 days since the Redskins played a game; it will be about 186 days until they play another one.

—Days until: NFL Free agency starts 6; Offseason workouts start 33; NFL Draft 64

In case you missed it

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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