In the past week, restricted free agent offers were tendered by
Washington to Miami defensive tackle Jermaine Haley, and Detroit to San
Francisco tight end Brian Jennings. The players' old clubs have until this
Friday at midnight to match the offers. The Packers were in the running for
Haley, but he decided to sign a $4 million offer sheet with the Redskins.
Punter Josh Bidwell is Green Bay’s only restricted free agent. He did not
receive an offer from another team and is expected to sign the minimum
one-year tender offer of $605,000. The Packers lost safety Matt Bowen earlier
in the free agency period to the Washington Redskins by opting not to match a
four-year, $6 million offer that Bowen, a restricted free agent, signed with
the Redskins. The Packers received a sixth-round draft choice from Washington
Green Bay linebacker Na’il Diggs signed a 4-year, $10.5 million offer
sheet with the Detroit Lions in mid-March, but the Packers matched the Lions’
offer and retained Diggs, a restricted free agent. The Philadelphia Eagles
were in hot pursuit of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila until he accepted a $37.3 million
contract with the Packers. Gbaja-Biamila also was a restricted free agent.
Restricted free agents are players who have completed three accrued
seasons of service and whose contracts have expired.
They received qualifying offers from their old clubs and were free to
negotiate with any club from Feb. 28, the start of the 2003 free-agency
signing period, until April 18, at which time their rights reverted to their
If a player accepted an offer from a new club, the old club had the right
to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elected not to
match the offer, it could receive draft-choice compensation depending on the
level of the qualifying offer made to the player.
Besides Bowen, three other restricted free agents changed teams during
the signing period. Kicker Rian Lindell moved from Seattle to Buffalo; and
wide receiver Laveranues Coles and running back-kick returner Chad Morton
went from the New York Jets to Washington.
Seattle held right of first refusal only for Lindell. The Jets a got a
first-round choice for Coles and a fifth-round pick for Morton.