Update: all five RFAs received the lowest tender amount ($930,000), if they are signed by another team the Colts can match the contract or receive a draft pick in the round that the player was originally drafted in.
TE, Bryan Fletcher (6th round)
OG/C, Dylan Gandy (4th round)
S, Matt Giordano (4th round)
DE/DT/star special teamer Darrell Reid (undrafted)
TE, Ben Utecht (undrafted)
Here's the simplest explanation of restricted free agency I could write, (copy pasted from Monday's post):
Restricted Free Agents are players whose contracts are up but have only 3 years of NFL service. Teams have the choice of 4 different contracts (tenders) to offer a RFA. If a team makes any of these offers the player does not become an unrestricted free agent (they stay under their teams control). Once an "tender" is made to a RFA other teams can negotiate with the player and agree to a contract. If an RFA and team come to an agreement on a contract the RFA's former team can match that contract and keep the player. If they choose not to match the offer the RFA's former team receives a draft pick from the players new team, the round that pick is in is determined by which tender amount that was originally offered.
Here are the contract tender levels that the Colts have to choose from:
|$2.35 million||First- and third-round|
|$850,000||Determined by RFA's original draft status|
Both Gandy and Giordano are useful players and their 4th round draft status will either scare teams away or give enough compensation to the Colts if they're given the 850K tender. Gandy could step into either guard spot and start. With both starting guards FAs they can't let their backup go too. Giordano is a good backup safety (he's both Sanders' and Bethea's backup) can play CB in the dime (like he did in the Superbowl), contributes on special teams and is unbelievably fast (almost caught Hester in SBXLI, still ran the 40 at the combine even with a torn pectoral that forced him to keep one arm at his side the whole time. His time was a 4.5)
I would like to see Utecht, Fletcher and Reid all back but the lowest tender offer would nearly double their cap charge from last year and provide no compensation for Utecht and Reid if they left. The Colts need to roll the dice and not offer them a tender or get an extension for less than the tender amount done before the 29th when Free Agency begins. Without a tender offer they'll become free agents and can return at closer to their 2007 salaries. Hopefully no other team has fallen in love with any of these three as I'd love to see them back.