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Steelers reportedly plan to offer Dwayne Haskins a Restricted Free Agent Tender

By offering the tender, the Steelers either have Haskins under contract for 2022 or receive compensation if he signs elsewhere.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have many questions when it comes to their roster for the 2022 NFL season. With Ben Roethlisberger assumed to be heading into retirement, the Steelers have a big question at the quarterback position for next year. With Mason Rudolph the only quarterback under contract for 2022, the Steelers also have Dwayne Haskins as a Restricted Free Agent (RFA). According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Steelers have indicated to Haskins they are going to offer an original-round restricted free agent tender.

Upon first glance, it may appear as if the Steelers were putting a first-round tender on Haskins as he is a former first-round pick. This is not the case as a first round tender would cost to Steelers an estimated $5.5 million. Instead, in a move that would save an estimated $3 million in salary, the Steelers are offering an original round tender at about $2.5 million as explained by ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

To explain what a restricted free agent is and how the contracts work, is outlined as follows according to from the 2021 offseason: (The numbers quoted are from 2021 as the 2022 amounts are currently only estimates until the exact salary cap number has been set.)

Restricted free agent (RFA): A player with three accrued seasons and an expired contract. RFAs are free to negotiate and sign with any team, but their original team can offer them one of various qualifying offers (“tenders”) that come with the right of first refusal and/or draft-pick compensation. If the tender is withdrawn by a team, the RFA becomes an unrestricted free agent. In 2021, teams must submit these tenders before 4 p.m. ET on March 17. These amounts change annually; the following numbers are for the 2021 season. Players can choose either (a) or (b) regardless of which is greater in the applicable tenders below.

The RFA tenders are classified as follows:

First-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $4.766 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. If the player’s original team decides not to match an offer sheet signed with another team, it is entitled to a first-round draft pick from the player’s new team. Unless received two days or later prior to the NFL draft, draft compensation for each tender is due in the same league year as the offer sheet is signed.

A signed offer sheet with a new team includes Principal Terms that must be matched by the prior club. However, if the new team includes terms that waive or limit its ability to designate the RFA a franchise player, the old team will not have to match this term if it has tendered the player with an offer worth $500,000 more than the first-round tender ($5.266 million in 2021).

Second-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $3.384 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: second-round pick.

Original-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $2.183 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: a pick in the round the player was originally drafted in.

Right-of-first-refusal tender: One-year contract worth $2.133 million. Team has the right to match any offer sheet signed with another team, but there is no draft compensation tied to this tender.

As explained by Graziano, by the Steelers offering the original-round tender for Haskins, any team who would negotiate a contract with him will have to surrender their first-round pick to the Steelers. The pick would come in this year‘s NFL draft, unless the tender was signed within two days of the beginning of the draft and then it would be the following year.

With the price tag being a first-round draft pick as well as his salary, I don’t think they will be any takers for teams lining up for Dwayne Haskins. By placing this tender on Haskins, he will likely be under contract with the Steelers for 2022. Even if another team offers Haskins a contract, the Steelers would have the opportunity to match the contract or let Haskins go for the draft pick.

The Steelers also have two other restricted free agents for 2022 in linebackers Robert Spillane and Marcus Allen. If the Steelers do not offer a RFA tender, they become an Unrestricted Free Agent.

Once Haskins is officially given his RFA tender, he will have the option to seek a contract with another team or simply sign on with the Steelers for next year.

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