Any team interested in signing a restricted free agent to an offer sheet has only two days left to act.
Don’t hold your breath. Or any other bodily function.
Teams simply don’t do it. Sure, the Patriots signed receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a measly one-year offer sheet, which the Steelers matched. Since 2010, an uncapped year in which every fourth- and fifth-year player without a contract was a restricted free agent, only one restricted free agent has changed teams. Other than Sanders, no other offer sheet has been signed.
Whether it’s collusion or laziness or failure to appreciate the potential benefits of getting a head start on negotiating a long-term deal with a player who could be unrestricted in a year, few teams use this tool for securing young players. As former Patriots V.P. of player personnel and former Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli explained on Tuesday’s edition of Pro Football Talk, bringing in a restricted free agent and getting to know him and getting a feel for his long-term contractual expectations before signing him to a one-year offer sheet can become a great strategy for securing the player’s services, either now or 12 months in the future.
Still, teams don’t do it. And it makes no sense. With all the bravado about getting better, more teams should be spending less time talking about it and more time trying to do it by taking full advantage of the opportunity to pursue players who otherwise would be off limits.
This year, teams have two days left to act. Given the rash of restricted free agents who have signed their one-year tenders in recent days and will remain with their current teams, it’s safe to call that possibility unlikely.