Redskins, Orakpo could disagree over tag salary

Redskins, Orakpo could disagree over tag salary
March 3, 2014, 2:45 pm
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The Redskins’ decision to put the franchise tag on Brian Orakpo could precipitate a disagreement between the team and the player. Or, more properly, between the league and the NFLPA.

As soon as the Redskins file the necessary paperwork, the league will determine Orakpo’s position designation. That’s important because different positions command different salaries.

Orakpo is listed as an outside linebacker, which carries a tag salary of $11.455 million. But he was drafted as defensive end and his position entails many of the same responsibilities that an end in a 4-3 defensive scheme has. His camp could argue that he should be tagged as a defensive end. That position carries a franchise player salary of $13.116 million. If he is labeled a linebacker, Orakpo could file a grievance asking to be designated as an end. 

When asked by Josina Anderson of ESPN if he thought he should be tagged and as a linebacker or as an end, Orakpo said, “I can’t really comment on that right now.”

There is really no precedent here. The Ravens and Terrell Suggs had a similar position dispute but the two sides compromised before it came to a formal hearing.

Orakpo does run some risk by filing a grievance. If he wins, the Redskins could decide that they would rather not pay to extra $1.66 million and rescind the tag. That would make Orakpo a free agent but, depending on the timing, he cold end up hitting the market after all of the big money deals have been signed. That seems unlikely but it’s possible if things go badly.