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Redskins, Orakpo negotiations quiet as deadlines approach

Redskins, Orakpo negotiations quiet as deadlines approach

With the clock ticking towards two deadlines, things remain very quiet in contract negotiations between the Redskins and linebacker Brian Orakpo.

The closer of the two deadlines is next Monday at 4 p.m. That’s how long the Redskins have to put the franchise player tag on Orakpo. The tag would cost the Redskins a one-year salary in excess of $11 million but it would make it highly unlikely that the three-time Pro Bowl linebacker could change teams.

If the Redskins do apply the tag, the second deadline is essentially moot. Free agency starts at 4 p.m. on March 11 but with Orakpo tied to the Redskins that really won’t matter. But if the Redskins decide against making him their franchise player, Orakpo will be free to sign elsewhere.

Our friends at Rotoworld have Orakpo ranked as the fifth-best player who is slated to be a free agent. Since pass rushers are always at a premium, he would be looking for a contract that pays at least what the $11 million franchise tag salary would bring. The chances are pretty good that he could get it.

The Redskins have many needs on both sides of the ball and letting Orakpo walk would create another one at perhaps the most important position on the defense. On the other hand, the $11 million it could cost to tag him could help fill a lot of other needs.

It has long been thought that the Redskins will use the franchise tag on Orakpo if they are unable to sign him to a long-term deal. However, there has been no indication that they will do that. Usually at this point, five days prior to the deadline, the potential use of the tag comes out as a negotiating ploy to push the player towards a deal. Other than Bruce Allen saying last week that he intended to talk to Orkapo’s camp at the NFL Combine, we’ve heard the sound of crickets out of the negotiations.

That can be taken as a good sign as the two sides are not negotiating through the media. Or it could mean that the Redskins want Orakpo on a long-term deal or not at all. Perhaps they don’t think he’s worth the franchise tag money and they’re willing to let him test the market and see what his true value is.

We will see if that is a chance they are willing to take.

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Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Need to Know: Redskins look for fifth straight win over Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 5, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: Practice 1:05; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and open locker room after practice approx. 3:00

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 12; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 17; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 25

Injuries of note vs. Cardinals:
C Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion)
Long's concussion could force roster move

First look at Redskins vs. Eagles

The last time: The Redskins won 27-20 at FedEx Field in Week 6 in a game that was not really as close as the score indicated. The Redskins outgained the Eagles 493 yards to 239 and had the ball for 10 more minutes. Philly scored on a kickoff return and an interception return in a three-minute span in the second quarter and that was about all they had. The Redskins have now beaten the Eagles four straight times. 

The Eagles leaders: Quarterback Carson Wentz got off to a hot start, posting three passer ratings of over 100 in his first four games. In eight games since his passer rating is 70.1 and his high in a game is 91.4. Leading rusher Ryan Mathews had his first 100-yard game in Week 10; he shares the load with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Jordan Matthews (57 receptions, 686 yards) is expected back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sacks leader Brandon Graham (5.0) has only one sack in the last six games.

Be on the lookout: The Eagles have been getting it done on special teams for years. This year they have two kickoff return touchdowns and Darren Sproles averages 13.7 yards per punt return including a 66-yarder.

Hodgepodge: A Washington win would put them 2.5 games ahead of the Eagles with three to play. Barring a Philly win out/Redskins lose out scenario the Redskins would be out of last place in the NFC East in consecutive years for the first time since 2002-2003 . . . The Redskins already are ensured of avoiding double-digit losses in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2001-2002 . . . The Eagles have allowed over 400 yards of offense in two of their last three games.

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When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

When will Jordan Reed return? Jay Gruden says he 'can't predict it'

The Redskins best pass cacther did not play in a loss to the Cardinals, and it appears there is still no clear timeline for Jordan Reed's return to the field. 

"Jordan will be day-to-day," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "You know, we just have to wait and see."

Gruden issued the same statement on Reed last week, and the tight end proceeded to miss all Redskins practices for the week and was announced out for the Arizona game on Friday. Reed's injury came on Thanksgiving in Dallas when he separated his shoulder diving in the end zone for a Kirk Cousins' pass during the first half.

Incredibly, Reed returned in the second half and caught two touchdowns while playing in immense pain. Gruden and Cousins used words like 'stunned' and 'surprised' talking about Reed's return in the Dallas game, but looking forward to Philadelphia, it's hard to know what to expect from the tight end's shoulder.

"Everybody is different with these types of injuries and hopefully he is a fast healer but we’ll take him day-to-day, get him his treatment and go from there," the coach said. "I can’t predict it."

For the season, Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in just nine games. Reed missed two games earlier this year after sustaining a concussion against the Ravens.

Without Reed in the lineup against the Cardinals, the Redskins offense dipped in production. Cousins threw for less than 300 yards for the first time in three games, though backup tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 47 yards. 

If Reed practices Wednesday, even in a limited role, would be a good sign for the 'Skins tight end. 

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