There are many advantages to the Redskins designating Brian Orakpo as their franchise player. At the top of the list, it gives them a very good player at the most important position on the defense.
However, the price for retaining Orakpo’s services takes pretty substantial bite out of the team’s salary cap room.
The franchise tag salary for a linebacker is $11.455 million and every bit of it gets charged to the 2014 salary cap. That leaves them with an estimated $18.6 million of salary cap space.
That’s not chump change by any means but it also isn’t a whole lot for a team that still needs to replace two starters at safety, two at inside linebacker and upgrade a number of other positions.
They do have the ability to create more cap space. They could release injured defensive linemen Adam Carriker and Stephen Bowen and save nearly $6 million against the cap. Other releases could create more cap room.
The Redskins could lower Orakpo’s cap number by agreeing to a long-term contract with him. A deal could be structured in such a way that even if it averaged near the franchise tag salary, the 2014 salary cap hit could be substantially lower.