I know many of you are wondering what the heck is going on with Jarrad Page. He isn’t at practice and he hasn’t signed the restricted free agent tender extended to him by the Chiefs. The arrival of June will probably bring closure to this situation one way or another. Here is how it breaks down courtesy of Josh Looney at KCChiefs.com:
June 1st is a key date in the NFL’s labor world. Today is the day that tender offers extended to RFAs expire. Following expiration, club’s now have the option to extend the tender offer and retain exclusive negotiating rights until Week 11 of the regular season. If re-issuing tender, teams are required to either extend the previous offer to their RFA or offer a contract at 110% of the previous year’s pay (whichever is greater). It a team opts not to re-issue a tender, the player then becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Most of the time, teams choose to re-issue tenders.
In Page’s case, the 110% rule is important because his reported 2010 tender offer exceeds 110% of what he earned in 2009.
For Page, and most of the other unsigned RFAs, June 15th is the next date to focus on.
On June 15th the Chiefs would have the option to withdraw the original offer to Page and replace it with a 110% offer (in Page’s situation, this would represent a reduced amount), yet still maintain exclusive negotiating rights. If the player then does not sign by Week 10, he cannot play in 2010.
So why doesn’t Page just sign his contract? The odds are stacked against him here and unless the Chiefs decide to release him into unrestricted free agency, he isn’t going to get more than the team is already offering him.
There may be a couple of reasons and I will detail them after the jump.
Page is likely ticked off here. The uncapped year really screwed him up. He has more starts than any other Chiefs safety yet his contract still reflects his 7th round draft status. He has now been a RFA for 2 years in a row and he likely either wants his shot at being an unrestricted free agent or he wants the Chiefs to pay him starters money.
If Page signs, he is stuck with a contract he doesn’t want. If he wants to come to OTA’s he needs to sign an injury waiver that would guarantee he gets some money if he injures himself but why bother doing that if he still doesn’t have the contract he wants? If he injures himself at OTA’s there is no way he is going to get the deal he is looking for.
Page is probably hoping for 1 of 2 outcomes here.
1. The Chiefs get sick of his hold out and they decide the don’t need/want him and they allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.
2. His agent is able to work him out a satisfactory long term deal.
What we don’t know is if the Chiefs are willing to give Page a long term deal. He was injured most last season but he was the starter when he went down. The Chiefs might light to get a look at him for a full season before the commit to a long term deal. Still, the Chiefs tendered Page at a 2nd round level so they appear to value him enough to want to avoid losing him.
The question is, will Page call their bluff? He can hurt the team’s depth at safety by sitting out the whole season but he can also hurt himself by not being on the field. Page did not play much last season and if he were to hold out all of 2010, it isn’t likely a team would want to give a big contract to a safety who hasn’t seen significant playing time in 2 years.
While the Chiefs can’t afford to lose good players, they also likely want to avoid signing players they aren’t sure about to long term deals. I can see why they would want to keep Page for another year to fully evaluate him before deciding whether or not he is worth the money he likely feels he deserves.
In my opinion, the best option for Page is to sign his tender before June 15th and to play his butt off for the Chiefs this season and hope he doesn’t injure himself. If he plays well the Chiefs will likely give him the deal he is looking for or if he feels the Chiefs have screwed him, he can finally test the unrestricted free agent market.
Either way, the best way for Page to earn his contract will be by showing his worth on the field.