If Brett Favre retires, Tarvaris Jackson would be the favorite to start at quarterback for the Vikings in 2010.
But if another team wants to take Jackson from the Vikings, it would require nothing more than a contract offer with a poison pill, combined with a third-round draft pick.
Jackson is set to become a restricted free agent, and NFL Network reports that the Vikings tendered him at the third-round level. If another team signs Jackson to an offer sheet, the Vikings would have seven days to match the offer or get that team’s third-round pick.
A third-round draft pick isn’t much compensation for a starting quarterback, but the tender offer may be an indication that the Vikings believe Favre will come back.
Or maybe it just means the Vikings don’t think the rest of the league thinks very highly of Jackson, and that they doubt any team would sign him to an offer sheet.
UPDATE: After several readers raised questions about this item, we need to clarify. Jackson was tendered at the original-round level, and he was a second-round draft pick. But because the Vikings used a second-round tender on Fred Evans, they cannot receive second-round compensation for Jackson. If another team signs Jackson to an offer sheet and the Vikings don’t match the offer, the Vikings will get that team’s third-round pick.
The relevant language in the Collective-Bargaining Agreement reads, “Notwithstanding Subsections 2(b)(i) and 2(b)(ii) above, in the event that a Prior Club tenders any of its Restricted Free Agents originally selected in a draft round lower than the second round a Qualifying Offer that requires Draft Choice Compensation of one second round selection (the “(c)(ii) Upgraded Tender”), the Prior Club shall only be eligible to receive Draft Choice Compensation of one third round selection for any of its Restricted Free Agents originally selected in the second round of the Draft, unless such Restricted Free Agents have each received a Qualifying Offer of at least the amount of the (c)(ii)Upgraded Tender.”