A day after being slapped with the non-exclusive franchise tag, Redskins’ linebacker Brian Orakpo indicated that he’s still hopeful of reaching a long term agreement with the team.
The sides have until July 15th to do so. If they fail to come to an agreement by then, Orakpo will play for the amount of the franchise tag—either $11.5 million or $13.1 million. (More on that in a bit.)
“It is what it is,” Orakpo said Tuesday morning on 106.7 The Fan. “They made a decision. …I’m just very relieved that we’re moving forward and hopefully [can] get something done in a long term sense and go from there. But I’m relieved that we at least are making progress instead of being at a stalemate.”
He added: “It is a business. I understand from the Redskins’ standpoint, and they understand from my standpoint. They did prioritize me this offseason and I’m really appreciate them for that. I hope to continue the relationship, and I want to do so in a long-term sense.”
Orakpo did not want to comment on whether he might dispute the Redskins' decision to tag him as a linebacker. The linebacker tag is $11.5 million and the defensive end tag is $13.1 million. Although Orakpo plays linebacker, he sometimes takes on the responsibilities of an end in Jim Haslett’s scheme.
“We haven’t [gone] into detail on all that. And that’s something I can’t really comment on right now,” Orakpo said. “That’s something that’s put on hold right now.”
Although it didn’t sound as though Orakpo was thrilled about being slapped with tag—players never are—the 27-year-old said he’s excited about the possibility of returning to the Redskins and having more opportunities to get after the quarterback in 2014. In a recent interview with ESPN980, Haslett said, “That’s why we hired [an outside linebackers] coach to coach them on the rush element. We’ll try to turn them loose more this year, do more with them game-wise.”
That’s exactly what Orakpo had hoped to hear.
“I haven’t talked defensively with anybody yet,” Orakpo said, speaking to hosts Grant and Danny. “I haven’t even met Jay Gruden face-to-face yet. ... We’ll see what the new roles will be under the new regime and go from there. I know they’ve got a lot in store this year. I know Haslett has been talking about taking the chains off myself and Ryan [Kerrigan]. I really …I don’t know any of the details of it right now.”
Orakpo added: “You can have that debate all the time. Look at the number of attempts for myself rushing compared to the other [pass rushers] out there. I’m literally almost 100 snaps less than other guys [such as] Von [Miller], Aldon [Smith], [Robert] Mathis as far as rushing every down. That’s not a complaint at all. That’s just the way our 3-4 is built compared to other 3-4s. We’re asked to be a lot more involved in the passing game, asked to be a lot more involved in different blitzing schemes. It is very different. …Things might change with the new regime.”
Orakpo said he’s not sure what the immediate future holds, but he hinted that it could include more discussions between his agent and the Redskins on a long-term deal.
“It’s still a process,” he said. “It’s just something I was tagged with. It’s just still a process right now. We all have to still wait and see, see what happens. You never know what can happen from here up until free agency. We just have to be optimistic about the whole thing. …The whole objective is you want to get this team better. And you don’t want to subtract great players from a team and make holes where holes aren’t needed.”