As June 1 approaches, 36 restricted free agents haven't signed their tender offers

By March 4, teams were required to decide whether to extend tender offers to their restricted free agents, a class of players made larger than usual in 2010 due to the specific status of the labor deal between the league and the players.  With the salary cap disappearing, the threshold for unrestricted free agency moved from four years to six.

Thus, any player with three, four, or five years of service and an expired contract became eligible for restricted free agency.  Each team then was required to decide whether to extend an offer to each restricted free agent — along with the level of salary that would be offered.  The higher the salary, the greater the compensation if the player signed an offer sheet with another team — and if the current team opted not to match.

The deadline for signing players to offer sheets expired eight days before the draft.  Thereafter, restricted free agents had two options:  play for their current teams, or play for no one.

June 1 has relevance to the process because, technically, the tenders must be re-issued on that date.  That exercise becomes particularly relevant to Rams safety O.J. Atogwe.

Atogwe was a franchise player in 2009.  To avoid a requirement that he be tendered an offer worth at least 110 percent of his franchise-player salary from last season, the Rams tendered him at the lowest possible level, which gave them only a right to match any other offer he received.  As of June 1, the re-issued tender must be the greater of the previous tender or 110 percent of the prior year’s salary.  Thus, in order to retain exclusive rights to Atogwe, the Rams will have to increase Atogwe’s take from a non-guaranteed offer of $1.226 million to a guaranteed (if signed) tender worth nearly $7 million.

According to, Atogwe and 36 other restricted free agents have not officially signed their tender offers (one of them, Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh) reportedly has accepted his.  Most of them likely will be re-issued a tender on June 1.  It’s unlikely that the Rams will do so with Atogwe.  If they don’t, he’ll be free to sign with any other team.

The next key date comes on June 15, when the tender can be reduced to 110 percent of the player’s 2009 salary, a development that would dramatically reduce the 2010 salaries for some of the unsigned restricted free agents.

24 responses to “As June 1 approaches, 36 restricted free agents haven't signed their tender offers

  1. If Atogwe can really sign for any team without any final eight rules, I’d love to see him play for the Jets. Add another solid player to the secondary.

  2. if the bears are smart they will atogwe the min. he becomes available.even lovie could not screw this up!with him and harris as your starting safties andwright as the backup it would be the end of who plays saftey in chicago.don’t be cheap and sign the guy!

  3. Lions should sign Atogwe. Then the’d only be a cornerback and linebacker shy of a good deffense.

  4. Good God, some of the people on here act like owners have (and should be obligated to spend) whatever sum it takes to sign every good FA that hits the market…especially the two fans of the Jets and Bears who posted on this thread. The Jets, although they have tried to sign every free agent hitting the market, are NOT going to be able to buy their way into a Super Bowl. Give it up.

  5. Atogwe is not going to the stinking Jets! I hate Jets fans, they swear they are going to sign EVERY freaken player!!

  6. smauricio says:
    May 31, 2010 1:43 PM
    Move Falcons!! Pick up Atogwe!!
    Uh, dumbass, he either PLAYS FOR HIS CURRENT TEAM OR NO ONE! You can’t trade a player that has not signed a tender. Boy, you crackers are dumb.

  7. June 1 is not important to the teams that have already extended a tender worth more than 110% of the player’s 2009 Para. 5 salary, i.e., a “June 1 tender.” (such as the Texans did with Owen Daniels back in March)
    For those teams and RFAs, June 15 is the key date. That’s when teams can reduce the tender amount to 110% of the player’s 2009 salary and still retain exclusive rights.

  8. Atogwe is not going to the stinking Jets! I hate Jets fans, they swear they are going to sign EVERY freaken player!!

  9. The Bears need to keep it up with what they’re doing. They need to sign this guy and get him to the Free Safety spot immidiately.

  10. falcon paid to much for D..(toast)robinson!!how you sign OJ?besides Willam Moore is the best safety to never play a down according to fa-clowns fans?LMAO,8-8 for the worst team in the NFC South

  11. Sounds like O.J. Atogwe watch is on! So where does the talented safety land? Dallas? Chicago? Miami?

  12. The Jets chose their color by design, some posters here show it in their small mentalities. The Jets signed one…count it one…expired contract FA (Taylor signed for under 2 mil/year). They also signed three cut players in Poole, LT and a scrum LB from Sea. They acquired Cromartie and Holmes via trades. The Cheatriots and Dolfinks both signed as many or more free agents, but don’t let the facts get in the way of their scared jealous fans whining.

  13. Come on Rams, hurry and get O.J. signed!
    He did have a pretty nasty injury last year, maybe there is something more to it???

  14. RAMS fan here. I don’t know what the deal is with them and Atogwe. Maybe they know something the rest of the league doesn’t? Otherwise, I can’t understand why they haven’t signed him yet. Makes no sense.

  15. “RAMS fan here. I don’t know what the deal is with them and Atogwe. Maybe they know something the rest of the league doesn’t? ”
    I think the rest of the league know about his injury issues as well, thats why he wasn’t signed to a RFA offer sheet with a poison pill clause – that would have cost other teams nothing in comp.

  16. Ray, it’s not that Billy is astute. He had a year and a half to get a long term deal worked out and did nothing. Then when FA hit, tried to impress a prospective new owner by showing how frugal he could be, and wound up alienating one of his best defensive players. Atogwe understandably didn’t react well to the Rams trying to lowball him. Their relationship is beyond repair. I’ve been wrong about a few things over the years but this scenario played out exactly as I thought it would. Nice work Billy.

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