In an offseason full of odd, awkward happenings, the use of restricted free agent tenders on fourth- and fifth-year players is probably the most awkward. And meaningless.
There is a strong likelihood that these tags won’t matter once we reach the other side of the labor mess. But NFL teams are taking precautions to use the tags now because it’s good business and can’t hurt.
Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger reports the Giants were “reluctant” to even use the tags, but that didn’t stop them from doing so.
They placed a second-round tender on running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive end Dave Tollefson, and defensive tackle Barry Cofield. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka and wide receiver Steve Smith also received undisclosed tenders, according to Garafolo.
We aren’t going to read too much into the level of tenders. The Giants potentially didn’t want to restrict their players that much in the event they actually remain RFAs after the work stoppage.
UPDATE: One source told Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News: “They didn’t want to tender anyone, so they decided to just tender everyone the same.”