The 1999 fourth-round pick finished second on the team with 145 tackles in 2001 but received a tender offer of only $563,000. The club's three other restricted starters - wide receiver Marty Booker, guard Rex Tucker and linebacker Rosevelt Colvin - all were tendered at $1.227 million, the highest level possible.
If Holdman signs an offer sheet with another team, the Bears would have seven days to match it. Because the Bears failed to check the proper box on a complicated form submitted to the league, they will not receive the fourth-round draft pick they were entitled to should they lose Holdman.
Despite the lower offer general manager Jerry Angelo is determined to retain Holdman and the club will exercise its right to match any reasonable number.
"What I've said from the beginning with him was that we wanted to re-sign him," Angelo told chicagobears.com. "In part, that was the reason we used the low tender, to make him appealing for somebody to look into with the understanding that we have the right of first refusal.
"He's valuable in that he knows our system, he was productive, he's young and we like him. He's a valuable player."