Impending restricted free agent running back Antone Smith re-signed with the Atlanta Falcons today, signing a two-year contract with the team. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both years were likely for league minimum base salaries. If the first year of Smith’s new deal is for the league minimum of $630,000 for fourth-year veterans, that is nearly $700,000 less than the RFA tender of $1.323 million, saving them some money for the start of free agency next week.
Smith first joined the Falcons during the 2009 season after being an undrafted free agent with the Detroit Lions. He was initially signed to the practice squad, and was re-signed to a future deal after the season. He made the team in 2010, and has added value primarily on special teams. Smith has played 35 games over the past three seasons, with only a single carry for -3 yards in 2009. But he has totaled 12 special teams tackles in that span, including 4 in 2012.
The Falcons other potential restricted free agent is Michael Palmer. Because he was an undrafted free agent, if Palmer is tendered at the lowest $1.323 million level, the Falcons would receive no compensation if he was to sign with another team. If the Falcons cannot work out a deal with Palmer between now and the start of free agency on March 12, then they will likely tender him at the $2.023 million level. Then the team will receive a second round pick if Palmer was to sign with another team.