On Thursday, Denver Broncos General Manager George Paton let everyone know that he plans to tender restricted free agent running back Phillip Lindsay. This likely means he won’t be going anywhere.
“We’re still working through Phillip,” Paton said. “Phillip is a good player and very passionate. He had some injuries last year and he brings energy and juice. He’s a restricted free agent and we do plan on tendering him. I’m not sure at what level but we want Phillip here.”
While it looks like Lindsay will be here through the 2021 season, let’s take a look at how he performed under his first year under Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur’s offensive scheme. The Broncos running game was pretty lackluster in 2020 and Phillip Lindsay may not be a good fit for the Pat Shurmur offense as MHR staff writer Sadaraine explains below.
Height: 5’ 8”
Weight: 190 pounds
Age: 26 years old
Experience: 4 seasons
Why it makes sense to bring him back
Lindsay is a Restricted Free Agent this season and the Broncos will tender him as such, though we’re not sure at what level as of yet. There’s capital to be had either way from Lindsay because he’s been one of the few bright spots on a very bad team in the past few years. 1,000 yard running backs don’t grow on trees and Lindsay has been able to do it more than once.
He’s fast, sneakily powerful, and is a playmaking force on the field. He also is a fiery guy who is a positive force for the locker room.
Why it wouldn’t make sense to bring him back
Obviously, there’s something off with Lindsay or his fit with the Broncos offense since his snaps dropped to only 25% in 2020. In previous seasons he was getting closer to 50%. The Broncos also signed free agent Melvin Gordon III to a pretty hefty contract.
I don’t see Lindsay being a focal point of our offense as long as Pat Shurmur is calling the shots. Given that, I think the most likely outcome is that the Broncos give him a low tender and he finds a new team that will utilize him better and the Broncos get a draft pick out of it.
I’m a big Phillip Lindsay fan, but I’m also a pragmatist. The fit isn’t right and we can keep a guy on the team just to give him 25% of the snaps when he’s not a passing game playmaker and can struggle to block well give his size (though he does a really solid job...I’m not knocking his effort here or mental ability).
The fan in me wants Lindsay to stay on the team so we have the opportunity to see him be more of a spark like we saw in his first two seasons with the Broncos. But the analyst in me almost would rather the Broncos let him walk so he can find a team that will give him more opportunities.
RFA tender designations
The rules for tendering Restricted Free Agents are pretty straight-forward. Here is what the rulebook states.
First-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $4.641 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. If the player’s original team decides not to match an offer sheet signed with another team, it is entitled to a first-round draft pick from the player’s new team. Unless received two days or later prior to the NFL draft, draft compensation for each tender is due in the same league year as the offer sheet is signed.
A signed offer sheet with a new team includes Principal Terms that must be matched by the prior club. However, if the new team includes terms that waive or limit its ability to designate the RFA a franchise player, the old team will not have to match this term if it has tendered the player with an offer worth $500,000 more than the first-round tender ($5.141 million in 2020).
Second-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $3.259 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: second-round pick.
Original-round tender: One-year contract worth the greater of (a) $2.133 million or (b) 110 percent of the player’s prior-year base salary. Draft-choice compensation: a pick in the round the player was originally drafted in.
Right-of-first-refusal tender: One-year contract worth $2.133 million. Team has the right to match any offer sheet signed with another team, but there is no draft compensation tied to this tender.
What tender should Phillip Lindsay receive?
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