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Posted 11 Mar 2015JETS Tender RFA "Snacks" and Jarrett
Jets tender restricted free agents Damon Harrison, Jaiquawn Jarrett. So what does that mean?
The Jets have tendered Damon Harrison. (Jeff Haynes | AP Images for Panini)
Darryl Slater | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com By Darryl Slater | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on March 09, 2015 at 8:23 PM, updated March 10, 2015 at 2:26 PM
The Jets on Monday announced that they have tendered restricted free agents Damon Harrison and Jaiquawn Jarrett.
Harrison, a former undrafted player, is the Jets' starting nose tackle. He has been with the team since his NFL career began in 2012. Jarrett, a former second-round pick by the Eagles, has mostly been a backup safety since he joined the Jets in 2013. They were the Jets' only restricted free agents this offseason.
The Jets gave Harrison a second-round tender. They gave Jarrett something they labeled an "original" tender.
Confused? Here's what it all means:
• If another team wants to sign Harrison, and the Jets decide not to match what that team offers him, the Jets would get a second-round draft pick in return, upon Harrison's departure. The pick would be for this year's draft, as is the case with all restricted free agent compensation every year. Harrison got a standard second-round tender.
• Teams aren't allowed to tender two restricted free agents in the same round in the same year. Even though Jarrett was originally drafted in the second round, the Jets couldn't give him a second-round restricted free agent tender, and then do the same for Harrison. So if Jarrett is signed away from the Jets, after they decide not to match what another team offers, the Jets would get a third-round pick in return, not a second-rounder.
• The only way the Jets could've given Jarrett a true second-round tender is if they gave Harrison a first-round tender or the low tender. And they weren't going to give him the low tender -- the third and cheapest rung on the restricted free agent tender ladder. (More on that in a second.)
• So what is a tender? It's really just a one-year contract offer. The first-round tender is worth $3.354 million, the second-round tender is worth $2.356 million, and the low tender is worth $1.542 million. Here's a more detailed explanation of the restricted free agent process. The first-round tender is (obviously) attached to a first-round pick in return, as compensation for a departing restricted free agent. The low tender is attached to a pick of whatever round the player was initially drafted in.
• In short, if Harrison signs his tender with the Jets, he will play 2015 on a one-year contract worth $2.356 million. If Jarrett signs his tender, he will get a one-year, $1.542 million contract. So Jarrett essentially received the low tender, with the only difference being that the Jets will get a third-round pick back if he leaves for another team, not a second-round pick.
• Basically, the Jets wanted to save about $1 million while retaining Harrison. That's why they didn't give him the first-round tender. They are banking on another team not wanting to give up a second-round pick for Harrison, who is more valuable to the Jets than Jarrett. The Jets weren't going to give Harrison the low tender, as we mentioned above. That would make no sense, because he was an undrafted player, and so they wouldn't get any pick in return if he left them.
• In Jarrett's case, the Jets are banking on another team not wanting to give up a third-round pick for him. The upshot: It seems unlikely that another team would do this, so expect Jarrett to return to the Jets next season. Ditto for Harrison, who is a very good player, but probably not worth another team giving the Jets a second-round pick.
• In terms of pay increases, Jarrett made $570,000 last season, so he is in position to get about a $1 million raise, if he signs his $1.542 million tender. And Harrison also made $570,000 in 2014, so that'll be an even bigger raise, to his $2.356 million tender.
So what's a restricted free agent, anyway? And what comes next for Harrison and Jarrett?
As colleague Dom Cosentino so astutely noted in this post, a restricted free agent is any player with an expiring contract who has three accrued seasons, but less than four accrued seasons.
Restricted free agents are free to sign with any other team, except not entirely free. By Tuesday at 4 p.m., a restricted free agent's current team can tender a qualifying offer that would entitle that team to a right of first refusal on any offers made by another team, as well as compensation if the restricted free agent were to sign with that other team. (This is exactly what the Jets did Monday.)
Any restricted free agent tendered an offer sheet -- which is what the Jets gave Harrison and Jarrett on Monday -- has until April 24 to sign, and that player's current team has until April 29 to exercise its right of first refusal on any offer sheet the player may get from another team.
Darryl Slater may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DarrylSlater. Find NJ.com Jets on Facebook.
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