The Redskins announced this morning that OLB Brian Orakpo has signed his franchise tag tender for this year. This ends any speculation that Orakpo might file to be franchised as a Defensive End at a higher rate, and that he might hold out by not signing the tender. Orakpo's contract now becomes fully guaranteed for $11.455 million, and there is still time to negotiate a new, long term deal with the team. Jay Gruden indicated yesterday at the Owners meeting that the team was ready to let Orakpo play out his franchise tag this season, and come back to the contract issue after the season ends. Time will tell if they can still get a deal done this year, or if the Redskins will face the same contract dilemma next offseason.
Orakpo signing his tender today also means that he is eligible to participate in the offseason workout program that starts April 7th. Since the Redskins have a new Head Coach this year, they are permitted to start their offseason program two week early to help with the transition process. Robert Griffin III and several of the team's RBs, WRs, and TEs are currently in Arizona doing a Passing Camp to help prepare for the season.
“Pass rushers don’t grow on trees, and at the time we did it we weren’t sure what pass rushers would be available,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Wednesday at the owners’ meetings in Orlando, according to The Washington Post. “There was still a chance for Seattle to franchise [Michael] Bennett, or some of the top pass rushers out there we weren’t sure who would be available. So, we thought it was very important to take care of one of our own, who we groomed and coached up, and also the fact that pass rushers don’t grow on trees. We thought it was very important we got one and we’re happy with Brian.”
Orakpo will get 17 weekly paychecks of about $673,800 each in 2014. #RedskinsTalk— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) March 27, 2014
Orakpo said he signed the franchise tag tender because, "I didn't want to be a distraction."— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) March 27, 2014
Orakpo also made it clear that he still wants a long term extension. Sides just couldn't find "middle ground."— Tarik El-Bashir (@TarikCSN) March 27, 2014