Dealing with restricted free agents tricky for Redskins

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Few leave, but penalty to Washington's cap makes decisions tougher

It sounds tempting: Sign a proven player and give up what could be a low draft pick as compensation. Fortunately for the Redskins, it hasn't been all that tempting for teams of late. And it could help them retain their restricted free agents.

Teams have until 4 p.m. on March 12 to tender an offer to restricted free agents.

Only one restricted free agent changed teams in the past four years; none of the 42 RFAs even received an offer sheet last year.

"It's bad business," one longtime general manager said. "There are too many hurdles neither side wants to take on."

Linebacker Rob Jackson » Because of the Redskins' cap situation, it will be tough to make him a second-round tender, which is worth $2.03?million. Plus, any team signing him would surrender a second-round pick to the Redskins. It's highly unlikely another team even would make Jackson an offer in this scenario.

They could make him an original-round tender. Any team signing him would surrender only a seventh-round pick, the round in which Jackson was drafted in 2008. But even if he receives a multiyear offer elsewhere, Jackson is open to signing a one-year deal with Washington. He then would become an unrestricted free agent in 2014, possibly getting a bigger payday.

That's a gamble considering he would be the No. 3 outside linebacker behind Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo. But if Orakpo can't stay healthy -- he has torn his pectoral muscle twice now -- then Jackson will get more chances to increase his worth.

Fullback Darrel Young » The Redskins have discussed a multiyear deal with Young. If they don't come to an agreement, he likely would receive the right-of-first-refusal tender offer worth $1.323 million. Because he was an undrafted free agent, the Redskins would receive no compensation if he left, but they would have seven days to match any offer.

Tight end Logan Paulsen » As with Young, the Redskins want to do a multiyear contract with a player they consider reliable, though no deal is imminent. It's hard to see them making him a second-round tender, which would guarantee his return. Even if they give him a right-of-first-refusal tender, there's a chance no team will bite on Paulsen. It's a solid draft for tight ends, so a team could get a cheaper one in April.

Unlike Jackson, it's doubtful Paulsen would pass on a multiyear deal elsewhere in the hopes of cashing in more as an unrestricted free agent. If the Redskins re-sign Fred Davis, as they are telling people they will do, then Paulsen would be a backup.

Nose tackle Chris Baker » He's another undrafted player who will receive the right-of-first-refusal tender. A $1.323 million salary would represent a big raise for Baker, so if the Redskins want to keep him, it would make sense to work out a more affordable multiyear deal. Keep in mind: Fellow backup Chris Neild is scheduled to make $550,000.

Returner Brandon Banks » If the Redskins do anything with him, it would be to give him the right-of-first-refusal offer and $1.323?million. But for a team wanting to cut costs, that would be a surprise given Banks' production the past two seasons.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner