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Decision time for Seahawks on Jacob Hollister

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks will be busy this offseason, likely working to retain several of their own free agents, including Jadeveon Clowney and Germain Ifedi, but in the coming weeks the team will also need to decide how to approach each of its four Restricted Free Agents (RFAs). The list of RFAs the Hawks have is:

  • Jacob Hollister,
  • Joey Hunt,
  • Branden Jackson and
  • David Moore

and for each of those players the team will need to decide whether or not to extend a RFA tender. If they decide not to extend a tender, then the player becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent (to head off the question, non-tendered RFAs who become UFAs do not count towards comp pick calculations).

If the team decides to extend a tender offer to a RFA, there are three different levels of tender offer that can be extended: First Round tender, Second Round tender or Original Round tender. Each tender comes with a salary determined by formula and specified by the league. While the exact tender amounts for RFAs for the 2020 season have yet to be announced, OverTheCap.com has historically been very close on the tender amounts, and their current projections are as follows:

  • First Round tender: $4.667M
  • Second Round tender: $3.278M
  • Original Round tender: $2.144M

The way the tenders work is that they are an offer for a one-year contract at the specified amount. If another team wishes to sign an RFA to a contract once free agency starts in March, they are required to give up a draft pick corresponding to the round of tender placed on the player. So, for example, if a player is given a second round tender and another team signs the player to an offer sheet, the new team must then send its second round pick to the player’s prior team. Now, in the middle of all of that, the player’s former team has the right of first refusal and can opt to match the contract given to the player in lieu of accepting the draft pick.

In the case of an Original Round tender, the draft pick the new team would be required to give up is the same as the draft pick originally used to select the player when they came out of college. Now, in Hollister’s case, since he originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent, if an Original Round tender is used and another team signs him to an offer sheet, no draft pick compensation would need to be sent. The Hawks, however, would still retain the right of first refusal and be given the opportunity to match whatever contract Hollister signs with another team.

So, with the mechanics of the tender system now laid out, it seems likely that the Hawks will extend one of the tenders to Hollister in order to bring him back for the 2020 season. Thus, the question becomes which level of tender they will choose to use.

First round tenders are typically only used on players who play at premium positions and excel at their positions, such as the New England Patriots did with Malcolm Butler in 2017. With Hollister having cleared waivers when he was released at the end of training camp, it seems unlikely that even his productive 2019 campaign would move a team to the point where it would be willing to part with its first round pick in exchange for his services. That means there is no real need to consider the First Round tender.

That leaves the Second Round tender and the Original Round tender. The difference between the two is not large, likely barely more than a million dollars, and the Hawks certainly have the cap space this offseason to afford the extra million. The question that needs to be answered is whether the team is afraid another team could sign Hollister to an offer sheet if he signs the original round tender. If the answer to that question is yes, and after a 41 catch, 3 touchdown performance in just 11 games it likely is, then it might make sense for the team to use the higher of the two options.

A second round pick seems a high price to pay for a move tight end with questionable blocking skills, so it would almost certainly ensure Hollister is with the team again in 2020. So, my guess is that the team opts to extend a second round tender to Hollister, and that he and Russell Wilson team up once again to terrorize opponents this coming season.

Poll

How should the Seahawks handle Restricted Free Agent Jacob Hollister?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    First Round Tender - $4.667M
    (81 votes)
  • 50%
    Second Round Tender - $3.278M
    (1265 votes)
  • 37%
    Original Round Tender - $2.144M
    (943 votes)
  • 8%
    Non-tender (becomes UFA)
    (209 votes)
2498 votes total Vote Now