On the league’s official list of free agents published Tuesday afternoon by the Associated Press, Falcons tight end Michael Palmer’s name was listed among the restricted free agents who were not tendered offers from their respective clubs. That makes Palmer an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any team. As a restricted free agent, if the Falcons had tendered him, they would have received the right of first refusal, the ability to match any offer that Palmer may have signed with another team. That ability to match would have extended to a 7-day period. If the Falcons did not match the deal, they would be entitled to draft pick compensation based on the original round that the player was drafted. Since Palmer was an undrafted free agent in 2010, the Falcons would have needed to tender him at the second round level. Then they potentially would have received a second round in the unlikely event that another team tried to sign him.
Palmer’s lack of a tender doesn’t preclude his return to the Falcons in 2013. But he’ll likely have to accept a near-minium deal that pays him substantially less than the $1.323 million he would have received had he been tendered.