Generally, restricted free agents signing their tenders are not that big a deal. They’re pretty much a formality.
But we’ve got one signing that’s a little more notable than most today. Tampa Bay linebacker Barrett Ruud has signed his tender, which will pay him almost $3.3 million this season. Ruud has been looking for a long-term contract for more than a year, but nothing has happened.
Instead of locking Ruud up, the Bucs placed the highest tender on him and would have received first- and third-round draft choices as compensation if he had gone to another team. Ruud didn’t draw any interest as a restricted free agent.
The Bucs still can negotiate a long-term contract with him and that may happen because they keep saying they want to lock up their core players. But the uncertain labor situation after this year has made a lot of teams hesitant to give players long-term deals.
Cornerback Elbert Mack also signed his tender Wednesday, the team said.