Free agency

Two NFL restricted free agents have offers from new teams that can be matched by their old teams through this Friday, but neither of the two players are Green Bay Packers.<p

In the past week, restricted free agent offers were tendered by Washington to Miami defensive tackle Jermaine Haley, and Detroit to San Francisco tight end Brian Jennings. The players' old clubs have until this Friday at midnight to match the offers. The Packers were in the running for Haley, but he decided to sign a $4 million offer sheet with the Redskins.

Punter Josh Bidwell is Green Bay's only restricted free agent. He did not receive an offer from another team and is expected to sign the minimum one-year tender offer of $605,000. The Packers lost safety Matt Bowen earlier in the free agency period to the Washington Redskins by opting not to match a four-year, $6 million offer that Bowen, a restricted free agent, signed with the Redskins. The Packers received a sixth-round draft choice from Washington as compensation.

Green Bay linebacker Na'il Diggs signed a 4-year, $10.5 million offer sheet with the Detroit Lions in mid-March, but the Packers matched the Lions' offer and retained Diggs, a restricted free agent. The Philadelphia Eagles were in hot pursuit of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila until he accepted a $37.3 million contract with the Packers. Gbaja-Biamila also was a restricted free agent.

Restricted free agents are players who have completed three accrued seasons of service and whose contracts have expired.

They received qualifying offers from their old clubs and were free to negotiate with any club from Feb. 28, the start of the 2003 free-agency signing period, until April 18, at which time their rights reverted to their original club.

If a player accepted an offer from a new club, the old club had the right to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elected not to match the offer, it could receive draft-choice compensation depending on the level of the qualifying offer made to the player.

Besides Bowen, three other restricted free agents changed teams during the signing period. Kicker Rian Lindell moved from Seattle to Buffalo; and wide receiver Laveranues Coles and running back-kick returner Chad Morton went from the New York Jets to Washington.

Seattle held right of first refusal only for Lindell. The Jets a got a first-round choice for Coles and a fifth-round pick for Morton.


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