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Colts tender Matthias Farley, others at second round level

There were some big signings on Monday, but 3 players got a restricted tender placed on them.

All the buzz in Indianapolis this week will likely surround Chris Ballard’s decision-making in free agency. However, three players who could play important roles for the Colts next season were brought back on team-friendly deals yesterday. Before we get into these three players, a look at restricted free agency and how tenders work:

In the National Football League, a restricted free agent (RFA) is one with three or fewer accrued seasons (six or more regular season games with a team)[1] of service, who has received a “qualifying” offer (a salary level predetermined by the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players, known as a “tender”) from his current club. He can negotiate with any club through a certain date. If the restricted free agent accepts an offer sheet from a new club, his old club has “right of first refusal,” a five-day period in which it may match the offer and retain him, or choose not to match the offer, in which case it may receive one or more draft picks for the upcoming draft from the player’s new club. If an offer sheet is not executed, the player’s rights revert to his old club the day after negotiations must end.

Regarding tenders, the amounts change every year. Here is a look at the projected tender levels in 2019:

First-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $4.407 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. If the player’s original team decides not to match an offer sheet signed with another team, it is entitled to a first-round draft pick from his new team.

Second-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $3.095 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: second-round pick.

Original-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $2.025 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: a pick in the round the player was originally drafted in.

Right-of-first-refusal tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $2.025 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Team has the right to match any offer sheet signed with another team, but there is no draft compensation tied to this tender.

The compensatory draft picks are a possible disincentive to other teams who would otherwise like to make an offer for a player. If a player receives a second round tender from his current team and receives a contract offer from another, his current team can match the outside offer to keep the player or allow him to leave. If the player leaves, the new team will be owed his new team’s second round draft pick.

G Evan Boehm

Boehm was originally signed off the Rams practice squad in October of 2018. He played primarily as Ryan Kelly’s backup until an injury thrust him into the starting lineup for 4 games. He also appeared in jumbo packages, displaying his ability to pull and get to the second level — something Reich’s offense requires. At only 26, Boehm is still relatively young so it makes sense to bring him back to compete for a spot in 2019.

2nd Round Tender, $3.095 million

WR Chester Rogers

The Grambling State product had a quiet breakout in 2018, finishing second among the receivers with 53 receptions and 458 yards in 16 games, including 10 starts. His performance improved a bit after free agent acquisition Dontrelle Inman joined the team and started to produce. Like Boehm, it makes sense to tender Rogers. He is only 25 years old, can compete for a spot on the roster and he is a serviceable punt returner (23 punts for 215 yards, a 9.3 yard average in 2018).

2nd Round Tender, $3.095 million

S Matthias Farley

Perhaps the most significant signing of the group, Farley was putting together another strong season before he suffered a wrist injury against the Patriots — during what might have been the low point of the Colts season. In four and half games, Farley had one start, 17 tackles (10 solo), one interception, one forced fumble and two passes defensed. He has been able have an impact in coverage and as a run defender and helps give the team flexibility anytime a starter goes down in the secondary.

2nd Round Tender, $3.095 million

The Colts also made qualifying offers to exclusive rights free agents WR Marcus Johnson and LS Luke Rhodes. Johnson was just starting to flash his potential when he suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Ballard has complimented his talent and backs it up by making sure he stays in Indianapolis for another year. Keeping Rhodes locks in the special teams unit for 2019 after Adam Vinatieri signed a contract extension earlier in the offseason.

For those who are interested, exclusive rights free agents are much less complicated. Ultimately, the team who owns the players rights has the chance to offer a league minimum contract. The player can choose to accept the contract and play for his current team or he can choose to not play in the NFL that season.

Exclusive rights free agent (ERFA): Any player with fewer than three accrued seasons and an expired contract. If his original team offers him a one-year contract and the league minimum (based on his credited seasons), the player cannot negotiate with other teams.