Earlier today, Rosenthal listed the various restricted free agency tenders that will apply to players who, in a capped year, would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency.
But a league source tells us that there’s another, little-known option.
Teams can secure a simple right of first refusal with no compensation via a $1.176 million tender for players with four years of service, and a $1.226 million tender for players with five years of service.
Though the base amounts are the same as the low tender that secures as compensation a draft pick from the round in which the player was drafted, the source explains that the no-compensation tender is fixed at $1.176 million and $1.226 million, respectively. For the other levels, the tender increases upon request of the player to 110 percent of his 2009 compensation.
In the end, the lowest-level tender is a fairly low-cost device that will allow teams to let the market determine the long-term value of a player — as long as the team is willing to risk getting nothing in return if the team chooses not to match the deal.
The process becomes far more intriguing if the Steve Hutchinson/Nate Burleson poison pill is unleashed — and even more intriguing if teams choose not to use it.