With free agency starting a minute after midnight, the Bengals had to officially declare which of their restricted free agents they were keeping. Nothing changed. We already knew that the Bengals were offering a tender to Brandon Johnson and Rashad Jeanty, thanks to our beat writers who brought us the information several days in advance. As a result, the Bengals are letting go S John Busing, RB DeDe Dorsey, WR Glenn Holt and LB Corey Mays. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that they're permanently gone.
Here's a thought about those four.
There's four levels in which a team can offer tenders to restricted free agents; most of which is based on compensation. The maximum is $2.792 million, which returns first and third round compensation picks. The next level is $2.198 million, which returns a first round pick. Then there's the $1.545 million tender, a second round compensation. Then there's the $1.01 million, which compensates based on where the player was originally drafted into the NFL. You guys know the basics -- if a team makes an offer, and the original team doesn't match, the original team gets compensation.
OK, back to the point. Savings. If the Bengals had offered Dorsey, Busing, Holt and Mays a tender, they'd be on the books for $1.01 million per player if another team doesn't sign them, and the Bengals decide to match.
Now, what if the Bengals let these guys go into free agency, wait a bit, then come back and offer them a minimum deal? Pro Athletes Only lists the minimum contract for three-year players in 2009, which be $550,000 per player. That's a savings of $460,000 per player, and if the Bengals sign all four back, that's a savings of $1.84 million.