As expected, more restricted free agents have chosen to sign for what they believe is “less than fair market value” today. Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, Redskins inside linebacker Rocky McIntosh, Titans middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch and Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson all signed tenders. It was an obvious choice, given that their other option was to hold out and risk signing for “far, far less than fair market value” later. At midnight, teams can reduce their original tenders to restricted free agents, leaving players with two options: sign for just 110 percent of their ’09 base salary or sit out the season and get nothing.
There has been speculation that Dumervil, the AFC’s sack leader in ’09 and Denver’s only bona fide pass-rusher, could be in line for a long-term deal. However, the Broncos have been quiet on that front.
McIntosh, while presumably pining for a long-term contract, could break an even bigger bank in 2011. The fifth-year pro is coming off a career season. Given his continuously improving run-stopping abilities, McIntosh should be even more productive (read: more valuable) in Washington’s new 3-4 scheme. Plus, London Fletcher is 35. Fletcher has yet to show any hint of decline, but if he hits a wall in ’10, McIntosh’s value to the Redskins becomes even greater.
Tulloch’s presence is critical for Tennessee given the absence of injured veterans Keith Bulluck (currently a free agent) and David Thornton (likely to be released). Jackson, one of the league’s most productive tacklers (statistically speaking), is looking to bounce back after an injury-riddled ’09 campaign.
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