Bills' Byrd, Redskins' Orakpo likely to go untagged, hit NFL's FA market
With only Jimmy Graham and Greg Hardy tagged so far, known commodities like Jairus Byrd and Brian Orakpo seem poised to go untagged and enter the free-agent market.
Very few players (non kickers) will be franchised, perhaps even less than half-dozen. Buffalo, after its latest offer to Byrd was rejected, is now very unlikely to tag him, sources said, with the Redskins and Orakpo likely headed down the same path.
So far, Saints TE Jimmy Graham and Panthers DE Greg Hardy have been tagged, while Browns S T.J. Ward, Colts CB Vontae Davis, and Dolphins CB Brent Grimes are candidates for the tag (the Ravens reached an extension with TE Dennis Pitta before having to apply the tag).
The Bills are reluctant to tag Byrd for a second straight year, after clashing with him over his health early last season and unable to secure him long-term. Their latest offer would have made him one of the top paid safeties in the NFL within the first two years of the deal, but he turned it down. Franchising him again requires a 20 percent raise, limits Buffalo's chances of keeping him long term and, at this point, it's not as if the Bills are prepared to win a Super Bowl with him in 2014 under the tag.
They would get a compensation pick in return for him, and attempts to deal him in the past have not provided results, with the franchise tag complicating things. Byrd would fare well on the open market and the Bills would love to retain him, but if they cannot agree on a long-term deal by Monday's franchise deadline. putting the tag on him again leaves them in the same predicament as last season.
The Redskins, who have many holes to fill, are not close to an extension with Orakpo and it would be surprising if they tagged him now. They could use that money on multiple positions. Plus, Orakpo's health and erratic production have given them pause in the past, and GM Bruce Allen is generally judicious with how he spends his money.
Orakpo, like Byrd, would find a strong market awaiting him come March 11, when the league year begins, and looks poised to move on. At this point, I'd be surprised to see either player is tagged.
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