The Denver Broncos are aiming to retain Phillip Lindsay for the 2021 season and will tender the restricted free-agent running back, 9News' Mike Klis reported Thursday.
Klis cautions, however, that a "bigger question remains" as Denver apparently has not decided whether to tender Lindsay at the second-round level — for a non-guaranteed $3.38 million — or offer an original-round tender to the former undrafted free agent.
The second-round tender essentially guarantees his return. Under that scenario, if Lindsay signed an offer sheet with an outside team, as permitted, the Broncos would have seven days to match or receive a second-round draft choice as compensation.
The no-round tender, obviously, opens up the possibility of Lindsay walking for free, a non-ideal outcome for dart-collecting general manager George Paton. (You may recall the Broncos nearly losing UDFA RB CJ Anderson to the Dolphins in 2016 after opting not to tender him.)
A two-time 1,000-yard back and ex-Pro Bowler, Lindsay gutted through an injury-marred and statistically disappointing 2020 campaign in which the Colorado product collected just 502 ground yards and one touchdown across 118 attempts (eight games). He added seven receptions for 28 yards, losing pass-catching duties to veteran Melvin Gordon, who led the Broncos with 1,144 yards from scrimmage and 10 total scores (nine rushing).
Gordon, though, is facing a potential three-game suspension following his Oct. 13 arrest for drunk driving and speeding. If convicted by a jury in April, Klis reports, the team is likely to void Gordon's $4.5 million guaranteed salary, "which in turn could ultimately put his 2021 status with the Broncos in question."
The deadline to apply Lindsay's tender is March 17, the start of the new league year and official opening of NFL free agency.
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