The deadline for teams to use the annual franchise tag was Monday at 4pm ET, and only a handful of teams wound up exercising the option. One of those was the Washington Redskins, who slapped their tag on DE/OLB Brian Orakpo.
Orakpo was drafted as a defensive end out of Texas back in 2009, but has since switched to linebacker as the Redskins have altered their defensive scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4. Under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the Players Association can argue that Orakpo should be paid as a defensive end rather than a linebacker.
The franchise tag, for those that don’t know, is a one-year deal that pays a player a salary that is the average of the top-five paid players that year at his position. Since the average salary for the top-five DEs ($13.1M) is slightly higher than that for OLBs ($11.5M), it’s obviously in Orakpo’s best personal interests to claim he’s a DE.
He missed the majority of the 2012 season after tearing his pectoral, but returned in 2013 to record 10 sacks, good enough to earn him a Pro Bowl appearance.
Orakpo says he’s fine with the tag, but would prefer to ink a long-term deal to stay in the nation’s capital. The two sides have until July 15th to work out a new multi-year deal, and Washington reserves the right to rescind the tag unless the player accepts it prior to that point.
The other three players that were tagged were Jets kicker Nick Folk, Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. The Browns used the “transition tag” on center Alex Mack, while the Steelers used the same on linebacker Jason Worilds. The transition tag pays the player a salary the average of the top 10 players at his position.
*Photo credit – Homer McFanboy via Flickr.