A caveat on the lowest-level RFA tender

With the Rams reportedly thinking seriously about using the lowest-level restricted free agency tender on safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, a franchise player in 2009, our interpretation of the CBA on this point has been confirmed — a restricted free agent who is limited only by a right of first refusal is not entitled to a one-year salary that equates to 110 percent of his 2009 pay.

But there’s a catch.

As a league source explains it, and as we’ve confirmed by reviewing the CBA (Article XIX, section (i)(1)), the tender applies only until June 1.  At that point, the team must offer the greater of the prior tender or 110 percent of the player’s 2009 salary.  Otherwise, the player becomes a free agent.

So what this means is that, for a player like Atogwe, the Rams’ window of opportunity would apply from March 5 until May 31.  At that point, they’d have to decide whether to give Atogwe nearly $7 million — or let him go.

As a result, the lowest-level tender has a specific shelf life when applied to a guy who made huge money in the prior year.  And if means that, if Atogwe doesn’t get a long-term deal by the end of May, he’ll get a crack at one in June, since the Rams will most likely let him walk in lieu of offering him the kind of contract they’re apparently not willing to offer him now.

6 responses to “A caveat on the lowest-level RFA tender

  1. Como es Juan? Que? Si?
    Some of this stuff really just makes absolutely no sense. So, you are saying this:
    Rams tender @ Lowest Level. Lets say that Pissburgh signs him to an offer sheet. Rams don’t match and they receive no compensation. Rams do match and they have until midnight May 31 to sign him long term or he becomes a UFA? I’m really not sure if I got that right based upon what I just read but either way it makes little sense and I am confused.
    My guess is St Louis doesnt want to tender him where they have to pay him an additional 10% of what they had to pay him last season for tagging him, and their thinking is that they can low tender him, match an offer, and go on for the season. But that seems to not be the case either if they have from 3-5 to 5-31 to work a long term contract with him or pay the 110%. So it looks as if they are in a bind to pay da man, considering they tagged him last year, they should definitely have to pay him!

  2. There are issues that PFT takes on that make it look like they are taking a pea shooter in a nuclear war.
    And then there are issues like rules and laws, and PFT really shines on these.

  3. Florio:
    The Chargers are right. 110% DOES apply to any/all RFAs. I see the distinction you are dawing between ROFR and ROFR-Original Draft Round, and the language in those sections does support this. However, if you keep reading to Section 2bi1 of Article XIX, you’ll come to the language that makes it pretty clear (to me) that 110% applies to all RFA tender levels:
    “A Restricted Free Agent shall have the option of accepting a one year NFL Player Contract for 110% of his Prior Year Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior year contract carried forward unchanged) in lieu of a Player Contract for the applicable alternative amount specified in this paragraph, if he so wishes, regardless of which Player Contract is for a greater amount.”
    The person in question here is simply an RFA. Any RFA. There is no demarcation by tender level. Hence, seems pretty clear to me that, due to this paragraph, 110% applies to any and all RFAs.

  4. Whoops. I meant to say section 2f, not 2bi1, in the 1st paragraph of the comment above. Feel free to edit. My bad. (everything else still correct though!)

  5. What say you, the Chargers’ interpretation that you poked fun at was actually correct?

  6. Doesn’t this also allow them to have another team do the work of getting him to sign a mid level contract and then accept that contract as their own?
    If they feel he would accept a lower contract from another team, maybe even to get back at them, then they can opt to match and he does not get a choice in the matter.

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