There are multiple reports this afternoon that the Seahawks have placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent safety Jeron Johnson:
Seahawks gave S Jeron Johnson a second-round tender as a restricted free agent. Could garner interest elsewhere. Stay tuned.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 4, 2014
Putting a tender on a restricted free agent means the team has a right of first refusal to match any offer that the player receives (officially, a five-day period after the offer is extended). It also means Johnson will get $2.187 million if he signs the tender remains with the Seahawks, and that Seattle would be compensated with a second-round pick if he is signed by another team (here’s a good explainer of all of the rules on tenders). UPDATE — As has been pointed 0ut, Johnson could sign the tender and then be asked to restructure at a smaller salary later.
Johnson played in just seven games in 2013 as the backup at strong safety to Kam Chancellor while battling hamstring injuries and was eventually placed on the IR on Dec. 11.
But Seattle obviously thinks highly of the potential of the 5-10, 212-pounder out of Boise State who will be entering his fourth season in the NFL in 2014. Johnson has emerged as a key special teams player, including scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt against Dallas in 2012. Or, they may also simply know that a few other teams out there regard his potential highly and want to get what it feels is adequate compensation for losing him.
Seattle might also value keeping Johnson to keep some continuity among the backups in the back end with backup free safety Chris Maragos an unrestricted free agent. The tender means a healthy pay raise for Johnson, who made $560,000 in 2013.
Seattle’s other restricted free agents are WR Doug Baldwin and OL/C Lemuel Jeanpierre.
Seattle has not placed tenders on either. But it could place a first-rounder on Baldwin, which would guarantee him $3.1 million in 2014.