Restricted free agency ... truly restrictive

SHARE Restricted free agency ... truly restrictive
SHARE Restricted free agency ... truly restrictive

What are the chances the Bears lose Rashied Davis in restricted free agency?

Slim.

The wide receiver was tendered at the low level of $927,000, and the Bears will not receive compensation for him if another club signs him to an offer sheet and they decline to match it. But how much money is going to be thrown at a No. 4/slot receiver with good ability on special teams? If its a fair contract there is a good chance the Bears would just match an offer sheet and thank the other team for negotiating the deal for them. Thats what happened with defensive lineman Israel Idonije two years ago when the Buffalo Bills attempted to lure him away as an RFA.

For practical purposes few players change uniforms as RFAs. The deadline for clubs to sign players from other teams to offer sheets is April 18. The players current team has one week to match an offer sheet once it is signed.

The Bears nabbed cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. from the Carolina Panthers this way in 2006. He is one of just 12 RFAs to switch teams in the last four seasons.

Safety Brandon McGowan will not be going anywhere. The Bears tendered him at the mid-level for $1.417 million. That means they would receive a second-round pick in compensation should another team sign him away. It isnt going to happen. Both Davis and McGowan could wind up working out extensions with the Bears but given McGowans track record of major injurieshes torn an ACL and an Achilles tendonthey might want to see him show some durability before making a bigger commitment financially.

Here are some recent statistics regarding free-agent movement courtesy of the league office:

(numbers are the total players in this category that changed teams)

2007

Unrestricted 126

Restricted 4

Transition 0

Franchise 0

Total 130

2006

Unrestricted 149

Restricted 4

Transition 1

Franchise 0

Total 154

2005

Unrestricted 104

Restricted 3

Transition 0

Franchise 0

Total 107

2004

Unrestricted 124

Restricted 1

Transition 1 (John Tait)

Franchise 0

Total 126

2003

Unrestricted 111

Restricted 5

Transition 1

Franchise 0

Total 117

2002

Unrestricted 130

Restricted 1

Transition 0

Franchise 0

Total 131

2001

Unrestricted 93

Restricted 4

Transition 0

Franchise 0

Total 97

2000

Unrestricted 107

Restricted 4

Transition 0

Franchise 0

Total 111

1999

Unrestricted 115

Restricted 2

Transition 1

Franchise 0

Total 118

1998

Unrestricted 110

Restricted 4

Transition 1

Franchise 2

Total 117

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