The death of restricted free agency

ESPN NFL financial guru Andrew Brandt offers an intriguing look at how NFL restricted free agency is dying.

The basis of restricted free agency is a team can sign a player to an offer sheet and his existing team has a week to match the offer. If the team does not match the contract, it is awarded a draft pick from a corresponding round that the existing team assigns the player via a contract tender.

The deadline for teams to give restricted free agents an offer sheet is Friday. Thus far, there have been no offer sheets executed this offseason.

The Chiefs actually visited with Cincinnati restricted free agent linebacker/special teamer Dan Skuta several weeks ago, but thus far nothing has developed. He wasn’t given a draft-round tender so if the Chiefs were to give him an offer sheet and the Bengals didn’t match, the Chiefs would not have to send the Bengals any draft compensation.

There has been a lot of speculation (and we have discussed the possibility) that Denver could make a play at Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace, a restricted free agent prize. The Broncos still have some cap room and the speedy Wallace would be a terrific value at No. 25. He’d also be a dandy of a welcome gift for Peyton Manning.

A Denver pursuit of Wallace still makes sense. But as Brandt’s column points out, restricted free agency simply doesn’t appear to be a focal point of teams.