Vikings Sidney Rice had a first-round tender placed on him by the Vikings on Wednesday, despite the fact the wide receiver could become an unrestricted free agent once a new collective bargaining agreement is complete.
Under the current CBA, which will expire at 10:59 p.m. Thursday, Rice is a restricted free agent because he has four years of service. Before 2010, players with four or more years in the NFL became unrestricted free agents but that changed in the final year of the CBA and only players with six or more years of service were unrestricted.
The Vikings are operating under the old CBA until told otherwise and thus placed restricted free-agent tags on several players today. Putting the first-round tender on Rice, means that if he ends up restricted the Vikings would get a first-round pick if he signs elsewhere and Minnesota does not match.
There was some thought Rice might get the higher first- and third-round tender. Rice's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said last Sunday that his client would test the free-agent market before re-signing, even though it's not certain he will be free to do so.
Defensive end Ray Edwards, who has five years of experience, also received a first-round tender. Safety Husain Abdullah, who became a starter last year, received a second-round tender.
Also getting a second-round tender was backup offensive lineman Ryan Cook. That is in the round in which Cook was selected in 2006. Defensive end Brian Robison also will received a second-round tender.
Safety Eric Frampton, a contributor on special teams, is expected to get a right-of-first refusal tender. That would mean the Vikings would get a fifth-round pick back if another team signs Frampton and Minnesota fails to match.
Once the new CBA is done, the expectation of many is that five-year guys like Edwards will be unrestricted free agents.
A good place to follow the play-by-play of these tenders is Mac's Football Blog. According to that, Rice's tender would be worth $3.442 million; Abdullah's tender $1.835 million; Cook's $1.96 million (estimated); Edwards' $3.542 million (estimated); and Robison $1.91 million.
By the way, this marks the second consecutive year that Edwards has gotten a first-round tender placed on him. Last season, it paid him $2.521 million on a one-year deal.
Teams have until 3 p.m. Thursday to place tenders on its potential restricted free agents.