Brian Orakpo eager for long-term deal, refuses to hold out

It’s no secret Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo hoped to receive a multiyear contract extension from the Washington Redskins, who instead designated him as their franchise player.

Brian Orakpo, Brandon Meriweather Brian Orakpo shouts instructions to teammates during a game in Minnesota last season. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Orakpo will receive $11.455 million this season – the one-year franchise-player deal for a linebacker – which is a lot of money. But Orakpo believes he should get more.

“I feel like it’s my time,” Orakpo said after offseason practice Wednesday at Redskins Park. “I deserve it. We’ll see what happens.”

In 64 career games, the three-time Pro Bowler has 39.5 sacks. Orakpo has led the team in sacks four times, including sharing the top spot as a rookie.

Team President and General Manager Bruce Allen and Orakpo’s agent have had discussions about the parameters of a long-term deal, “but you’ve got to ask Bruce about [whether the sides have made progress],” Orakpo said. “You’ve got to ask them boys [senior Redskins management] about that. Money talks.”

Often, players who have been assigned the franchise tag do not participate in organized team activities, which are optional, in a display of protest. Not Orakpo. From the start, he has been active and upbeat.

“Once I signed on the dotted line, I don’t have to be here,” Orakpo said. “I could still [stay away] like the majority of NFL players do when they [get tagged].

“But nothing in my DNA wants to do that. I love my teammates. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.”

Orakpo’s dedication to the group is inspiring, one of his teammates said. “Man, 99 out of 100 guys who get franchised don’t show up to offseason program,” said veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall, a Redskins team captain.

“His commitment to showing up to this offseason program, wanting to get better and working … it speaks volumes. Hopefully, they [the Redskins and Orakpo] can get something worked out. But if you don’t get him done now, it’s probably going to cost a lot more later.”

Have a football question? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

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Jason Reid is a sports columnist with the Washington Post. He joined the Post’s Redskins team in 2007 after 15 years covering many beats at the Los Angeles Times.

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Mike Jones · June 4, 2014

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