The Redskins used the non-exclusive tag Monday on Orakpo, who remains eligible to become a free agent later this month.
Washington will have the right, however, to match any offer by another team and could receive two first-round draft picks as compensation if Orakpo signs elsewhere.
The tag for linebackers is $11.455 million for 2014. The Redskins have been discussing a long-term deal with Orakpo; those negotiations are expected to continue.
Orakpo told ESPN's Josina Anderson he is hopeful the move is just the "first step" and that he and the Redskins can agree to a long-term contract.
"I don't have a problem with the decision [the Redskins] made, but I still want a long-term deal. This is new to me. I'm just letting this play out to the end. I'm excited to be with the Redskins as of right now, but now we will go from here," he said.
"It's always good to try and finish up with the team that drafted you. However, it is a business and I understand the business. If it works out, then it works out. At the very least, I'm happy they took this step forward."
Orakpo led the Redskins with 10 sacks in 2013, including seven in his final seven games. He missed the last 14 regular-season games in 2012 with a torn pectoral muscle, but in 2013 he missed only the season finale (groin injury).
Orakpo, who turns 28 on July 31, has 39.5 sacks since 2009, when the Redskins drafted him in the first round. He started his career as a 4-3 outside linebacker and stayed outside when the Redskins switched to a 3-4 defense.
ESPN's Ed Werder, ESPN.com Redskins reporter John Keim and The Associated Press contributed to this report.