The Redskins have until this Monday, March 3, at 4 p.m. to decide whether to use to the franchise tag to keep Brian Orakpo. There's been no indication that the team intends to do so, and sources tell the Washington Post that the team hasn't even made Orakpo an official offer yet.
The lack of progress toward re-signing Washington's top pass rusher makes it more and more likely that the Redskins will enter the 2014 season without him.
Should the Redskins use the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo, they would keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent for one more year, but must pay him a one-year salary equal to the average of the salaries of the top five highest-paid players at his position (or a 120% increase, whichever is greater). That would be in the ballpark of $11 million for Orakpo. Washington would have the right to match any offers Orakpo receives from other teams, but if the Redskins declined to match an offer, they would receive two first-round draft picks in exchange for allowing him to leave.
Washington could also use the transition tag on Orakpo. The transition tag would require the Redskins to pay him a one-year salary equivalent to the average of the salaries of the top ten highest-paid players at his position (roughly $10 million). The transition tag is similar to the franchise tag in giving a team the right to match any offer by another team. If the Redskins declined to match an offer, however, they would receive nothing in return for letting Orakpo leave.
The Redskins have until March 3 to use the tags, or March 8 to negotiate a new deal with Orakpo. If neither happens by March 8, he will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.
Letting Orakpo test his free-market value could be advantageous to the Redskins if they believe he isn't worth $10 or $11 million for one year. If they're right—say teams offer him between $7 and $8 million per year—the Redskins could conceivably swoop in and bring him back for less. That's a big risk to take, of course.
What do you think the Redskins will do?