NFL Free agency is about to begin, and the Bengals have made several moves to keep some of their own free agents.
On Friday, the team announced it had extended tender offers to five players whose contracts from last season are set to expire on Wednesday when free agency begins.
Offensive lineman Trey Hopkins, a fourth-year player in 2019, was issued a tender that, barring a new agreement with Cincinnati, will make him a restricted free agent (RFA) when free agency opens on Wednesday. The Bengals issued Hopkins a second-round tender.
In addition, cornerback Tony McRae, offensive guard Alex Redmond, defensive tackle Josh Tupou and safety Brandon Wilson — all third-year players in 2019 — have been issued tenders which assure the Bengals will retain their exclusive NFL rights for the upcoming season.
A restricted free agent has the right to negotiate with other teams, and an their 2018 club has the right to retain him by matching any offer he signs from another team. But because Cincinnati extended a second-round tender to Hopkins, if he signs an offer from another team and the Bengals choose to not match that offer, the other team must compensate the Bengals with their 2019 second-round draft selection.
The deadline for an restricted free agent to sign an offer from another team is April 19. If Hopkins has not signed an offer from another team by that date, his 2019 NFL rights revert exclusively to the Bengals.
Hopkins also can remain with the Bengals by signing the one-year tender offer, or by negotiating a longer-term contract. Exclusive-rights players McRae, Redmond, Tupou and Wilson also each have the option of signing the Bengals’ tender offer or negotiating a longer-term contract with the team.