The Cleveland Browns tendered four of their five restricted free agents on Monday, a day before they would have become unrestricted free agents had no action been taken. The players who received tenders include FS Tashaun Gipson, ILB Craig Robertson, S Johnson Bademosi, and NT Ishmaa'ily Kitchen. TE Andre Smith was not tendered, but he basically was not part of the club last year after being waived/injured.
What Are Restricted Free Agents / Tender Amounts?
"Restricted Free Agents" (RFA) applies to players who have at least three years of accrued service in the NFL (i.e. 6 games or more on the roster or IR).
The Browns could choose to place a 1st round tender, 2nd round tender, or original round tender on each player.
The 2015 tenders are $3.354 million for the 1st round tender, $2.356 million for the 2nd round tender, and $1.542 million for original round tenders. Another team can sign a player you place a tender on, but they would owe that team the corresponding draft pick. Players not tendered by the start of free agency revert to unrestricted free agents.
Mary Kay Cabot reports a 2nd round tender for Robertson, and Jeremy Fowler reports a 2nd round tender for Gipson. We feel confident that Kitchen and Bademosi received original-round tenders of $1.542 million, which is more than three times their salary from this past season ($570,000). That's a testament to Bademosi's special teams abilities and the depth that Kitchen provides.
My projection heading into free agency would be that Robertson would receive a 2nd round tender worth $2.356 million, and that Gipson would receive a 1st round tender worth $3.354 million. We were wrong on Gipson.
With the Browns not using a 1st round tender on Gipson, it'll be interesting to see if a team tries to sign him to a sizable contract in free agency, which the Browns would then have the option to match. Cleveland has reportedly been trying to work out a contract extension with Gipson, but with free agency approaching, the team took the safe route to at least make sure they don't lose all rights to him.
We can surmise that Gipson wasn't exactly thrilled with being tagged, as indicated by this tweet minutes after the Browns' announcement:
— Tashaun J. Gipson SR (@Gipson_duos24) March 9, 2015
Follow our Browns free agency tracker for more updates on the status of Cleveland's own free agents.