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Tick Tock, Tender Clock

Posted Mar 2, 2010

Kansas City faces key decisions on eight restricted free agents before Thursday's deadline

The NFL Combine shuts down today in Indianapolis. As NFL executives make their treks back to their respective football compounds, all of the workouts performed by next season’s crop of rookies will take a back seat. We’re just over 48 hours away from the kickoff of NFL free agency.

Agents, and even veteran players, were spotted throughout the week in various hotel lobbies and restaurants stretched across downtown Indianapolis. Some of the agents were likely there for their rookie clients, but keep in mind that they also represent a number of veterans on the cusp of unrestricted and restricted free agency.

The opening bell for unrestricted free agency will ring this Thursday night at 11:01 PM here in Kansas City. We’ve taken a look at some of the available names out there, and more have been added since each position was presented. What we haven’t talked much about are the Chiefs restricted free agents.

The Chiefs must make tender decisions on eight restricted free agents by Thursday’s deadline, which is actually at 3:00 PM (CST) for tenders.

The Chiefs restricted free agents are as follows:

OL Andy Alleman

QB Brodie Croyle

LB Derrick Johnson

LB Corey Mays

OL Ikechuku Ndukwe

C Rudy Niswanger

T Ryan O’Callaghan

S Jarrad Page

*RB Kolby Smith and QB Matt Gutierrez were part of the Chiefs restricted free agent list, but agreed to new contracts last week

If the Chiefs are to retain the rights to any of the above players, Kansas City must tender an offer to each RFA based on draft pick compensation and the RFA’s accrued NFL tenure. Should the Chiefs decide not to extend a tender offer, the said player will become an unrestricted free agent.

If tendered, the RFA’s old team (Chiefs) retains the right to either match an offer that the player may get from another team, or receive draft choice compensation from the club making the offer.

RFA tender costs and compensation break down as follows…

Three years of NFL experience (Alleman, Ndukwe)

Original pick compensation: $1.101 million

Second-round tender: $1.684 million

First-round tender: $2.396 million

First and third-round tender: $3.043 million

Four years of NFL experience (Croyle, Mays, Niswanger, O’Callaghan, Page)

Original pick compensation: $1.176 million

Second-round tender: $1.759 million

First-round tender: $2.521 million

First and third-round tender: $3.168 million

Five years of NFL experience (Johnson)

Original pick compensation: $1.226 million

Second round tender: $1.809 million

First round tender: $2.621 million

First and third round tender: $3.268 million

Original pick compensation means that the club retains the first right of refusal and would then get the particular player’s original-round pick in return for the tendered RFA signing elsewhere.

The Chiefs restricted free agents were originally drafted in the following rounds…

Alleman – third round (2007 by New Orleans)

Croyle – third round (2006 by Kansas City)

Johnson – first round (2005 by Kansas City)

Mays – undrafted

Ndukwe – undrafted

Niswanger – undrafted

O’Callaghan – fifth round (2006 by New England)

Page – seventh round (2006 by Kansas City)

*Note: No compensation is required for an undrafted player on the lowest (original pick) tender amount.

The Chiefs also have five exclusive rights free agents to make decisions on – RB Jackie Battle, FB Mike Cox, DB Maurice Leggett, T Barry Richardson and LB Andy Studebaker. Exclusive rights free agents, if tendered, have no negotiating power with any other NFL clubs and must re-sign with Kansas City.

A number of NFL teams have revealed their tender offers this week. The Chiefs have until Thursday night’s deadline to do so.

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