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Redskins LB Brian Orakpo signs franchise tag tender

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Brian Orakpo has signed his franchise tag. (USATSI)
Brian Orakpo has signed his franchise tag. (USATSI)

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With the Redskins seemingly OK with letting linebacker Brian Orakpo play under the franchise tag tender for $11.45 million, they also don't seem willing at the moment to give him a long-term extension.

Thus, this latest bit of news Thursday makes sense.

The Redskins and Orakpo have until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal. Otherwise, Orakpo would have to play under the franchise tag tender. Washington coach Jay Gruden said this week at the owners' meetings that the team is OK with having Orakpo play on the short-team deal.

"We'd like to get him here for as many years as we can, but right now I wouldn't mind letting him play out this franchise tag and see what happens,” Gruden told reporters. “He's a talented player. I think he can do a little bit better. [We] can ask more of him where he could be more productive as far as getting his hand down and rushing more instead of dropping [into pass coverage] quite so much. We have high hopes for Brian and whether the deal gets done or not, we know he'll be a big part of our success [in 2014].”

Orakpo is coming off a season in which he recorded 10 sacks in 15 games, a pretty nice rebound from the 2012 season that was cut short after two games because of a torn pectoral muscle. If he approaches those 2013 numbers again in 2014, Orakpo's worth will grow that much more when he enters free agency next offseason.

At that point, a long-term deal might be even more expensive for Washington. But right now, the Redskins seem willing to take the risk.

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