The Arizona Cardinals are days away from the official start of free agency and have made a couple of contract decisions. Quarterback Ryan Lindley and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, who are eligible to be restricted free agents, will not be tendered by the Cardinals, which will forfeit the team's rights to match any offer made to them or to receive compensation.
Players with three years in the league can test the market, but can be restricted in their movement. A team may extend an eligible player with a first round tender, a second round tender or an original round tender. A first round tender will pay a player over $3.3 million and if another team makes an offer, the original team has the right to match the offer or let the player go, receiving a first round pick from the team that signs the player.
A second round tender pays a player more than $2,3 million and the team can match an offer from another team or get a second rounder. A low or original round tender pays the player more than $1.5 million and the team can match an offer, but gets no compensation if it chooses not to.
The decision not to offer a tender to Lindley is no surprise at all. He would be the fourth quarterback on the roster and he did not play all that well when he started in place of the injured Drew Stanton, who was playing because Carson Palmer got hurt.
The decision not to tender Ta'amu isn't unexpected, but it is how things were supposed to go.
Ta'amu had a fantastic 2013 season before tearing his ACL at the end of the season. He was seen as the guy the Cardinals would turn to if Dan Williams were to leave in free agency, as it appears might happen.
However, despite being healthy most of 2014, he could not find playing time and was not particularly impactful when he was on the field.
The lack of a tender doesn't mean the return of one or the other will not occur. Last season, the Cardinals did not offer tenders to any of their four restricted free agents. Two -- tight end Jake Ballard and linebacker Marcus Benard -- did re-sign with the team for less than the tender.
Arizona already has re-signed tackle Bradley Sowell, who would have been a restricted free agent.
With no nose tackle depth on the roster, it would not be a surprise to see Ta'amu come back, but at much less than the low tender. Lindley would be a cap invite at best.