Facebook friend Mark asks: Hey Sando, what would happen if the Seahawks were to sign someone with a third-round tender -- say, Charlie Whitehurst? We don't have a third-round pick. Do we give up next year's or what?
Mike Sando: To review, the Chargers tendered Whitehurst to an "original-draft" tender. That means San Diego would receive a 2010 draft choice in Whitehurst's original draft round -- the third -- if the Chargers declined to match terms of an offer sheet Whitehurst signed with another team.
Whitehurst is indeed expected to visit with the Seahawks.
Seattle does not own a third-round choice, however, and that means the Seahawks could not sign Whitehurst to an offer sheet. The collective bargaining agreement is clear when it states, "Any Club that does not have available, in the upcoming Draft, the selection choice or choices (its own or better choices in the applicable rounds) needed to provide Draft Choice Compensation in the event of a timely First Refusal Exercise Notice may not sign an Offer Sheet in such circumstances."
Why, then, would the Seahawks bring in Whitehurst for a visit? If interested in him, they could call the Chargers and attempt to work out a trade for something other than a third-round choice. By meeting with Whitehurst, the Seahawks might also be putting themselves in better position to sign him under different circumstances sometime down the road -- say, when Whitehurst becomes a unrestricted free agent.