If they gave every NFL team a test on the rule book, the New England Patriots’ score would lap the field.
Who ever heard of a May 9 tender? According to the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe and Pro Football Talk, the Patriots did and they used it on running back LeGarrette Blount. It’s for $1.1 million, which is 110 percent of Blount’s 2016 salary. What it does for the Patriots, most importantly, is it allows them to retain Blount’s value in the compensatory draft pick formula if Blount signs elsewhere. Free agents who sign after May 9 aren’t counted in the compensatory pick formula … unless they use the tender like the Patriots did.
PFT said the other benefit is the Patriots would have exclusive rights to negotiate with Blount from July 22 through the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season, if Blount doesn’t sign anywhere before July 22. Howe reported that Blount doesn’t plan to sign the tender right now.
If you had never heard of this available option, you’re not alone. PFT said it has only been used a handful of times through the years. The Herald said a league source “couldn’t recall the last time a team had used this tender.”
Blount’s offseason has been an unusual one. He led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns last season, was named one of the NFL’s top 100 players by NFL Network, yet the market for him has been slow so far. If he expected it to pick up after the May 9 deadline passed for free agents counting against the compensatory pick formula, the Patriots’ tender stopped that.
Now there’s another unexpected wrinkle to Blount’s free-agent adventures, thanks to the Patriots’ mastery of the rules.
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