Under the rules of the old Collective Bargaining Agreement, players with expired contracts and five years of accrued experience or less are classified as a restricted free agents. Teams made a mad sprint sending tenders to respective restricted free agents over the course of the past two weeks, even though a new Collective Bargaining Agreement would likely wipe out tenders to players with five years of accrued seasons, reclassifying free agents to the old system of allowing a player with four accrued seasons to become an unrestricted free agent.
The Bengals offered tenders to four restricted free agents this week: cornerback Johnathan Joseph, linebacker Brandon Johnson, running back Brian Leonard and guard Nate Livings.
Joseph is the biggest free agent this year for the Bengals and there were reportedly talks to get him signed by March 4, when the Collective Bargaining Agreement expired. Brian Leonard was offered a tender for his role as a third-down back, as well as for depth at running back with Bernard Scott being the only player signed for 2011. Brandon Johnson is the team's best linebacker in pass coverage, mostly playing in nickel formation. And much like Leonard, Nate Livings would be necessary to address the guard position which is depleted with expiring contracts.