As the Jaguars made moves to re-sign three of their impending free agents on Thursday, the rest of the league will also begin the process of bringing back restricted free agents. Defined as a free agent with three or fewer accrued seasons in the NFL, restricted free agents are free to negotiate on the open market but their original teams will have the right of first refusal, assuming they make one of four possible qualifying offers:
1) First-round tender: With a compensation level of $3.113 million, this is the maximum tender that can be placed on a restricted free agent. If the player signs with another team and the original team does not match the offer, they will receive a first-round pick as compensation.
2) Second-round tender: The compensation level is $2.187 million and teams will receive a second-round pick as compensation if a player signs an offer sheet elsewhere and the team elects not to match the offer.
3) Original-round tender: The compensation level is $1.431 million and if the player leaves, teams will receive a pick equal to the round that the player was originally selected in. For example, if a player that was a fifth-round pick is given an original-round tender and leaves, the team will receive a fifth-round pick in return.
4) Right of first refusal: The rarely used fourth tender gives a salary of $1.323 million but provides teams with no compensation if they choose not to match an offer and a player leaves. For about $100,000 more, they can at least have an original-round tender to protect themselves.
Here are the Jaguars that are preparing to reach restricted free agency:
|RFA = restricted free agent, ERFA = exclusive rights free agent|
The only true restricted free agent for the team is tight end Allen Reisner. After re-signing Clay Harbor on Thursday, it seems likely that the Jaguars allow Reisner to reach the open market and as a former undrafted free agent, it doesn't make much sense for him to receive any of the tenders anyway. A first- or second-round tender for Reisner seems like overkill and an original round tender wouldn't net anything for the team if he left.
The remaining free agents are exclusive rights free agents, which means they are Jaguars if the team wants them to be and there isn't anything they can do about it. If the Jaguars elect to give any of the four players an exclusive-rights tender, they are required by league rules to either stick with the team or leave the NFL. If the Jaguars do not give them a tender before March 11 they will become unrestricted free agents.
Expect the Jaguars to make moves to keep all four of their exclusive rights free agents with the team in 2014.