First let me explain what the difference is between RFA (Restricted Free Agent) and ERFA (Exclusive Rights Free Agent). Rules provided by Over the Cap.
Restricted Free Agents– These are players that have at least three years of accrued service in the NFL. Due to changes in the draft process, which now mandates four year contracts, these players are almost exclusively Undrafted Free Agents. In this case the team with which they finished the 2016 season holds the right through March 9 at 4PM to extend a tender offer to the player. A tender allows the former team to exhibit a level of control over the player in free agency, similar to the franchise tag. At a minimum every tender allows them to match the offer sheet made by another team. RFAs are allowed to negotiate with other teams, even if a tender is applied, starting at 4PM on March 9. Tenders count on the salary cap as soon as applied, provided they factor into the Top 51, which most do.
Here is where it gets tricky. The Saints could tender RFA Brandon Coleman at four levels. The highest tender would be a 1st round tender. Highly unlikely for Coleman. If a team went after such a player they would have to give up a 1st round pick. The same with the 2nd round tender. After that you basically get no draft compensation since most are UDFA. Draft round tender and minimum tender. The minimum tender for Coleman would be $690,000.
If your player has value, you use the higher tenders hoping to get some draft picks.
Now Willie Snead falls in the ERFA classification.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents– Players with less than three accrued seasons are the exclusive property of their former team provided the team makes a one year tender offer for the minimum salary.
Willie was signed by the Saints, Panthers, and Browns in 2014. He was a practice squad player so he only has accrued 2 seasons. The Saints have some leverage with their talented slot receiver. Pretty sure they want to sign him long term but they can tender at the minimum if they can’t come to terms. If that were to happen then Snead would be an RFA in 2018 and it could get rather costly to match if another team signed him.
The Saints have several RFA they may want to resign, but only 2 ERFA. Snead and WR Jake Lampman. Of these Willie Snead is the most likely one the Saints will try to keep. Willie has played big so the question is how much the Saints are willing to “Pay Da Man”.
The Patriots’ Jullian Edelman, signed a 4 year contract in 2014. It was for $17,000,000, a $5,000,000 signing bonus, with $8,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $4,250,000. An updated contract for Snead could look like 20 to 24 mil, with a guarantee of about 10 mil. Loomis would make it as cap friendly as possible with signing, and roster bonuses. Incentives could also be added. Willie’s career earnings to date are, $1,257,652 including $229,652 he has earned in incentives. Willie’s minimum tender would be $615,000.