The Patriots placed tender offers on their three restricted free agents today, assigning the first- and third-rounder tender to Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins, the second-round tender to kicker Stephen Gostkowski and the low tender to outside linebacker Pierre Woods.
By placing a tender on a restricted free agent, a team establishes the compensation it would receive if the player is signed to an offer sheet by another team and that offer wasn't matched.
In the case of Mankins, the Patriots chose the richest possible option. That tender is worth $3.26 million on a one-year term. The level of tender makes it highly unlikely another team would pursue Mankins because that team wouldn't want to give up first- and third-round draft picks.
Gostkowski's tender is for $1.75 million. If a team signed him to an offer sheet, and it wasn't matched, the Patriots would receive a second-round pick. It's unlikely another team would do that for a kicker.
If there was a mild surprise, it was with Woods, who tied for the team lead in special teams tackles in 2009. The Patriots tendered him at the low level, which means another team could sign him to an offer sheet and if the Patriots did not match they would not receive any draft-pick compensation because Woods entered the league as a rookie free agent.