Restricted Free Agency
As discussed in an earlier blog entry, http://lionscap.blogspot.com/2008/02/free-agency-begins.html, players with 3 accrued seasons, that have been given a required tender are considered a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) and are free to negotiate a player contract with any team in the NFL. If they reach an agreement with a team, the New club and the player sign an offer sheet. An offer sheet outlines the principles terms of a contract, including the number of years, the guaranteed salary, the signing bonus, base pay, etc. Once an offer sheet is executed, the RFA submits the offer sheet to his prior club, who has one week to exercise their right of first refusal (ROFR). If they exercise this ROFR, they agree to a contract with the RFA that contains the principle terms of the offer sheet. If the prior club declines to exercise their ROFR, the new club and the player shall be deemed to have entered into a binding player contract for the principle terms outlined in the offer sheet. The prior club will then receive draft choice compensation, if any, from the new club equal to the amount of the required tender given to the player at the start of free agency.
Kalvin Pearson is a RFA that was given a general tender by Tampa Bay, was originally an undrafted rookie and therefore, has no draft choice compensation attached to his tender. According to ESPN, the Lions executed an offer sheet for a 3 year, $3.5M contract that includes a signing bonus of $1.1M with Kalvin Pearson. Tampa Bay has one week to decide if they want to exercise the ROFR and match the offer sheet.