Tuesday is the day where millions of dollars could be won and millions of dollars could be lost. That day is the deadline when restricted free agents must sign their qualifying offers from their previous team. If not, they’ll only make 110 percent of their 2009 salary.
For players like San Diego WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeill, that could cost them a bunch of money. According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune , neither player will sign their tender offer because they want long-term deals. That means both could lose $2.5 million a piece for this season. It also means they both might just sit out the year in protest.
A player like New England Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins could lose more than $1.5 million, and a guy like Denver sack-master Elvis Dumervil could have to settle for collecting $630,000 rather than the $3.1 million the Broncos have offered.
One player, like Ray Edwards with the Vikings, went ahead and signed his tender offer today, and I expect a few others to ink their names sometime this evening. Unless you’re trying to project some semblance of leverage – which, honestly, most of the players don’t have because of the potential upcoming lock-out when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at the end of this season – it doesn’t make sense not to sign a one-year deal.
But I don’t make millions of dollars per year (hint, hint CBSSports.com upper management), so I don’t have that perspective.
On Sunday, Pro Football Talk had an interesting theory, based off something the Boston Globe’s Albert Breer wrote a few days ago. PFT wonders if the smell of collusion is in the air.
One reason this topic has been raised: teams sent letters to the players who hadn’t signed their RFA tenders, which suggests some sort of league-wide memo was passed around on how to handle the scenario. If that’s true – or even remotely true – the NFL Players Association might have something to say about that.
From the NFL owners’ perspective, it makes sense not to re-up their players for long-term contracts, especially with the uncertainty of what happens when the CBA ends. But at the same time, the Colts gave S Antoine Bethea a four-year, $27 million extension last week, so we know it is physically possible to compromise with the players.
Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent owners, one supposes. But if players like Jackson and McNeill sit out the season, everybody – with the exception of San Diego’s 2010 opponents – loses.
UPDATE: According to Lindsay Jones of the Denver Post on her Twitter account, Dumervil has signed his tender.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl.