The Washington Redskins had given Brian Orakpo no firm indication by late Monday morning that they had used their franchise player designation on him or planned to use it on him later in the day, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The deadline for NFL teams to use the franchise player tag is 4 p.m. Monday.
The person with knowledge of the matter said it remained unclear what the Redskins would do. There were conflicting reports about the team’s intentions. ESPN reported Monday that the Redskins were prepared to use the franchise tag on Orakpo if they were unable to agree to a multi-year deal with him by Monday’s deadline. CBS reported Sunday it was unlikely that the Redskins would use the franchise player designation on Orakpo, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who led the team with 10 sacks last season.
It was “highly doubtful” as of mid-day there would be a long-term deal struck Monday between the Redskins and Orakpo, according to the person familiar with the situation.
Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen did not respond to a request for comment.
Several people familiar with the deliberations said over the weekend the Redskins were going back and forth over whether to devote the financial resources necessary to retain Orakpo or let him go and use that money and salary cap space on other needs, describing it as a close call.
Orakpo is eligible for unrestricted free agency next week. Using the franchise tag on Orakpo would give the Redskins the right to retain him by matching any contract offer by another team, and the right to receive two first-round draft choices from Orakpo’s new club as compensation if they let him depart. The franchise-player tag for a linebacker is worth $11.455 million for a one-year deal. There has been some speculation that Orakpo, if the tag is used on him, would argue he is entitled instead to the franchise deal for a defensive end, based on the number of snaps he played at each position last season, worth $13.116 million.
Signing Orakpo to a long-term deal would be more expensive overall for the Redskins but likely would yield a contract far more cap-friendly in the 2014 season in its first year.