The defending champion New England Patriots always play the rules like they’re not in black and white. It’s led to some questions about their front office philosophy. But for the most part, the Patriots are simply taking advantage of a system that benefits smart organizations.
This latest bit of news is a prime example of that. According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Patriots made a May 9th tender offer to unrestricted free agent running back LeGarrette Blount.
PFT took the time to explain in detail exactly what this means.
Any team that makes a tender offer to one of its unrestricted free agents before May 10 picks up two valuable rights during the process. Here’s how Florio explained it.
“First, the team acquires exclusive negotiating rights with the player, if he doesn’t sign elsewhere before July 22. From July 22 through the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season, the player can sign only with his prior team. Second, if the May 9 tender is made and the player signs with a new team before July 22 the transaction counts toward the compensatory draft pick formula for 2018.”
Basically, New England is circumventing the unrestricted free agent rules to its advantage. If Blount does not sign with another team by mid-to-late July, he cannot move on from the Patriots at all until more than midway through the season.
If Blount were to sign with another team before that July 22nd deadline, it would work in the Patriots’ advantage when it comes to the draft pick compensation formula.
Despite an active offseason, New England has signed only two players (Stephon Gilmore and Rex Burkhead) that count against the formula. It has also lost five players that could count in the team’s favor, potentially giving the Patriots three compensatory picks in the 2018 NFL Draft before the entire Blount situation is settled.
Talk about playing the system. Good work from the Pats here.