When we took a look at the wide receiver position for the Buffalo Bills last week in our State of the Bills Roster piece, we included the following line about restricted free agents Donald Jones and David Nelson: "The two restricted free agents, Jones and Nelson, have been productive enough through three seasons that it's very safe to assume that they'll be tendered and retained."
As Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News wisely points out in an article this morning, however, there's nothing safe about that assumption at all.
Because Jones and Nelson were both undrafted free agents signed by the team in 2010, the lowest of the three tenders available to restricted free agents - called the "original round tender" (this year worth $1.3 million) - does not apply to either receiver, because they weren't drafted. The next-lowest tender, a second-round tender, is worth just over $2 million. That's a fairly hefty price to pay for two limited-upside receivers, particularly since both are coming off of injury.
It's exceedingly unlikely that the Bills would tender both receivers at that level of compensation (especially since GM Buddy Nix pursued a free agent option a year ago and has said the position will be addressed again this off-season), and it's possible that the team - fueled by input from the new coaching staff led by Doug Marrone - could deem neither receiver worthy of that level of pay. A modest contract extension to circumvent the need to apply a tender at all is possible, but not likely, either.
What do you think, Bills fans? Would you apply a second-round, $2-plus million tender to either Nelson or Jones moving into a new era of Bills football?