- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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The debate will rage for a little while longer -- even within the Washington Redskins' organization. Should the Redskins use the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo? Even Redskins general manager Bruce Allen told reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis that they don’t know if that will happen.
Allen told reporters that they will meet with Orakpo’s agent, Ben Dogra, in Indianapolis this weekend to get a better feel for what it would take to complete a new contract.
Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has called re-signing Orakpo a top priority. Both he and outside linebackers coach Brian Baker in various interviews -- with ESPN980 and Redskins.com -- have talked about 2014 as if Orakpo will be on the roster.
If the Redskins view Orakpo’s demands as exorbitant, then they could opt for the franchise tag, guaranteeing his return for next season. But that will cost around $11 million. A new deal would lessen his cap impact in 2014, but obviously would increase in later years. They have until March 3 to decide. Free agency begins at 4 p.m. ET March 11.
“I’m going to have some more conversations with his representative here, and we’ll see where it goes,” Allen said. “We really haven’t gotten into those types of specifics yet. Really. His agent is supposed to have some ideas on what he would like to propose to us today or tomorrow.”
The Redskins have approximately $30 million in cap space this offseason, so it’s a good time to do a bigger deal for them. However, they also have multiple needs on defense. They already need one inside linebacker and need to re-sign Perry Riley there as well. They also have no starting safeties under contract. The Redskins re-signed DeAngelo Hall earlier this week, with only $5.25 million of guaranteed money.
“We like Brian. There’s no doubt we like Brian, as well as a number of other players,” Allen said. “If we were just one player short, that’d be an easy question. But we have several players that we’re looking to fill.”