In the waning hours before the NFL ceases business operations, the Patriots turned in a crucial transaction.
New England offered restricted free agent running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis a second-round tender, according to the Boston Herald. Of course, there's a possibility that it doesn't hold up due to the labor negotiations, but that's unlikely since Green-Ellis is only a three-year veteran. Under a new collective-bargaining agreement, players will likely need at least four — and probably five — years of service to become unrestricted free agents.
Green-Ellis could make about $2 million in 2011 with the tender, according to reports, but that number could also change depending on the CBA. He is free to negotiate with other teams, but if another team offers Green-Ellis a contract, the Patriots would have one week to match it. If they don't, the new team will have to surrender its second-round pick to the Patriots, which isn't all that high of a ransom for a soon-to-be 26-year-old running back who just surpassed 1,000 yards.
Green-Ellis could reject the tender and hold out with the hopes of landing a long-term contract from the Patriots — similar to what left guard Logan Mankins did one year ago — but the Patriots will own his rights and hold all of the leverage in this case.
Green-Ellis doesn't have to rush to sign the tender before Thursday's expiration of the CBA. As long as the new CBA doesn't get rid of unrestricted free agency altogether — which isn't happening — Green-Ellis will be able to sign the tender once business operations resume during the next league year.