There is a March 4 afternoon deadline to submit restricted free agency tenders to players with three, four, or five years of NFL veterancy.
A flurry of tender offers last week left RB Mike Bell, DE Jeff Charleston, FB Kyle Eckel, RG Jahri Evans and CB Leigh Torrence without offers that would have made them unrestricted free agents on Friday.
We know that Jahri Evans won't hit the open market. The Saints will either announce a new long-term, big-money deal for the league's best offensive guard or place the highest possible RFA tender on him.
The others are reserve players who contributed but did not start, much less star, for the 2009 Saints.
Online reports indicate that RB Mike Bell has received a tender offer at the lowest level, which carries no compensation for the Saints should he leave via an RFA offer letter. Bell is the third or fourth horse in the Saints' runningback stable, depending on how Lynell Hamilton will be used in 2010.
Charleston, Eckel and Torrence will likely receive a similar offer - no compensation - or be allowed to hit the open market. Charleston and Torrence are buring on the depth charts of their positions while Eckel was a fill-in at fullback, a loosely-defined and non-critical job in Payton's offense.