With the torrent of Free Agency set to be unleashed at 4 p.m. Eastern, the Chargers have 13 players that are either Restricted Free Agents (RFA) or Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFA). These players have either 3 or 2 years, respectively, experience in the NFL that a team has the right to give a tender offer to these players.
In the case of RFA’s, any player that is tendered is free to talk to other teams and sign an offer sheet with that outside team. The Chargers would then have the chance to either match that offer or let them go. If the Chargers decided to let them go, the new team would have to send a draft pick as compensation. The round of the pick (either 1st, 2nd, or original round the player was drafted in) depends on the dollar amount of the tender.
As far as ERFAs, if any of them are tendered, they cannot negotiate with other teams and can either sign the tender or sign a long-term deal with the Chargers.
The Chargers have 6 RFAs and 7 ERFAs.
Jeremy Butler, WR - The Chargers have already said they will not tender him
Dontrelle Inman, WR - Inman earned a contract last year, more below
Branden Oliver, RB - With Danny Woodhead leaving, I expect LA to bring him back
Tenny Palepoi, DL - He could probably be brought back for cheap, don’t tender him
Korey Toomer, LB - Like Inman, Toomer needs to be retained, more below
Kenny Wiggins, OG - Let him test FA. Spencer Pulley is good, Donavon Clark will be back
Isaiah Burse, WR - Could probably be brought back cheap, don’t tender him
Geremy Davis, WR - Who? No tender
Javontee Herndon, WR - Could be brought back cheap, coming off an injury
Sean McGrath, TE - No need to bring back, great TE draft class for cheaper
Adrian Phillips, S - Same as the TE draft class, but the team loves him
Asante Cleveland, TE - See Sean McGrath
Andre Williams, RB - Don’t tender him, he can be brought back cheap.
As I said above there is more on Korey Toomer and Dontrelle Inman.
Chargers have tendered WR Dontrelle Inman, ILB Korey Toomer as restricted free agents, sources said. One-year minimum is $1.797M.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 9, 2017
As I was writing this that tweet came out. It was obvious looking at the list that these 2 were most deserving. That $1.797M number means they have both been tendered at the lowest level, meaning the Chargers get no compensation if they sign with another team, however, they do get the “right of first refusal” and will have an opportunity to match any offer Toomer or Inman receive.
This is a good move. Teams will either have to be pretty generous to pull them away, which helps in the compensatory pick formula, or they will both be back this season. And honestly, the Chargers don’t have a ton of cap to work with so a 2nd round tender (which is $1M more) was probably too much of a stretch.
Update: It looks like Inman actually received that 2nd round tender. So he’s a lock to come back this year.