On Tuesday, Albert Breer of the NFL Network tweeted out the tender amounts for restricted free agents. According to Breer, a first-round tender would cost a team $2.88 million, a second-round tender would cost $2.02 million and an original-round tender would cost a team $1.33 million.
The numbers are up slightly from last year, thanks to the salary cup going up. The increase is right at the five percent minimum as mandated by the newest collective bargaining agreement.
Teams can tender their players in one of those three tiers when the player hits restricted free agency. If another team were to attempt to sign that player to a contract, the original team would either receive a draft pick corresponding to the tender, or they would be able to match the offer to keep their free agent.
If the restricted player doesn't get an offer from another team, he can choose to sign his tender and play under that amount, though the contract is not guaranteed, unlike the franchise tag. That being said, the franchise tag is obviously a lot more expensive.
To use wide receiver as an example, if a team elected to tag a receiver (let's go with the timely example: Victor Cruz of the New York Giants), said player would make upwards of $10 million next season. With a first-round tender, Cruz would only make $2.88 million instead.
Other teams in the league have generally avoided pursuing restricted free agents, as most of the good players earn the first-round tender and teams are reluctant to part with such a premium draft pick. Previously, teams were able to designate players on a first- and third-round tender, but it has since been reduced to just a first-rounder.