NFL Free Agency Rumors: Brian Orakpo, Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Pettigrew

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New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

This weekend may ultimately prove to be a pivotal one for the Washington Redskins organization. According to the Washington Post, team officials were in deliberation about whether and how to re-sign free-agent linebacker Brian Orakpo.

The report indicates the Redskins want to retain Orakpo but there are differing views within the front office about the team’s financial resources to do so. Using the franchise tag on a player at his position would cost $11.455 million, or the team could try and ink him to a long-term deal, but may not have enough cap space to then address other needs. It’s been “a really close call” between the two options, according to the report.

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The transition tag has yet to be ruled out. That would allow Orakpo to essentially be a restricted free agent, with any other interested having to give Washington two first-round draft picks if the team elects not to match the competing offer. The transition tag is worth $9.754 for a one-year deal with a linebacker.

With Dennis Pitta having re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens and Jimmy Graham retained by the New Orleans Saints, Brandon Pettigrew surfaces as the best free-agent tight end available. If the Detroit Lions want to lock up Pettigrew, the terms have now likely been set.

According to ESPN, Pettigrew could command a similar deal in the range of five years and $32 million. The report points out Pettigrew has had better numbers than Pitta during his career, as well as the fact that Pettigrew has been considered a priority for Detroit. However, that type of deal may be too rich for Lions’ blood.

As we eluded to earlier, the Ravens locked up their tight end but could still be in the market for more pass-catchers. ESPN suggested New York Giants free-agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks could be a target of the Ravens. Nicks is not expected to be retained by New York after back-to-back seasons plagued by injuries and poor statistics.

The report also indicates linebacker Daryl Smith is likely to return and wideout Jacoby Jones may be on his way out the door, especially if he’s looking for a bigger pay day.

Whether Mark Sanchez returns to the New York Jets remains up in the air. At the start of the offseason it seemed all but certain the team and Sanchez were nearing a divorce, though a report surfaced last week there was a 20- or 30-percent chance he could return.

It looks like the situation got a little more interesting. ESPN suggests the Minnesota Vikings could make a push to sign Sanchez. According to the report, Matt Cassel is still the most likely to be at quarterback as the team ushers in a rookie, but would not rule out Sanchez, Michael Vick, Josh McCown, Matt Flynn or Rex Grossman. Sanchez’s age, 27, makes him a bit more intriguing among the rest of the free-agent quarterbacks.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.
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