The St. Louis Rams have seven players that are scheduled to be restricted free agents, including those whose status is changed because of the no-cap season for 2010. Keep March 4 circled on your calendar because that's the deadline for teams to offer one of the four tenders to a RFA.
Let's review. Teams can tender players an offer at one of four levels:
Original draft round
First and third round
The "draft round" means that if a RFA who has been tendered an offer signs with another team, the team that signs the RFA will surrender their draft pick associated with the tender made by the RFA's original team. For example, if the Rams tender RFA-to-be Oshiomogho Atogwe at the first and third round level, then the team that signs him gives their first and third round pick to the Rams.
More often than not, a player has little choice but to sign those RFA tender offers, which pays them a predetermined one-year salary based on the tender level, a number which is usually much lower than what they'd get on the open market. Team can then negotiate a new deal with a player or let them play for a season under the RFA contract. Here are the RFA tender amounts for the 2010 season (from PFT):
- Original round - $1.176 million; five-year player - $1.226 million
- Second round - $1.759 million; five-year player - $1.809 million
- First round - $2.521 million; five-year player - $2.621 million
- First and third round - $3.168 million; five-year player - $3.268 million
The five year amounts reflect the no-cap year rule that makes extends the years of experience requirements for unrestricted free agency. Here's a list of the Rams' restricted free agents, with thoughts about their future with the team.
- DE Victor Adeyanju, 4th round 2006
- FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, 3rd round 2005
- OT Alex Barron, 1st round 2005
- RB Samkon Gado, undrafted
- WR Ruvell Martin, undrafted
- OL Mark Setterstrom, 7th round 2006
We reviewed the likely fates of all these players in early January, and I think the predictions still stand, with one exception. I'm now much more certain that the team will use the RFA tag on Alex Barron.