The Bengals officially firmed up their restricted free agents in Thursday's press release:
The Bengals today announced that the team has extended tender offers to LBs Rashad Jeanty and Brandon Johnson, making them restricted free agents (RFAs). Both Jeanty and Johnson are classified as fourth-year NFL players in 2009.
By making the tenders, the Bengals gain the right to retain the players by matching any offer sheet either would sign from another team. If an RFA does not sign an offer from another team, he can remain with his original team by signing the one-year tender, or by negotiating a longer-term contract with his club.
Jeanty and Johnson both were tendered at a dollar amount which stipulates that if the Bengals decline to match a competing offer, the team signing either player must compensate Cincinnati with its second-round choice in the 2009 Draft.
The deadline for a restricted free agent to sign an offer sheet from another team is April 17. Any RFA who has not signed an offer sheet by that date will have his 2009 NFL rights revert exclusively to his 2008 club.
The Bengals are not sending tender offers to four other unsigned fourth-year players who were with Cincinnati in 2008. The four are S John Busing, RB DeDe Dorsey, WR Glenn Holt and LB Corey Mays. Those players are scheduled to become free agents tomorrow, when the NFL's veteran free agency signing period begins, and they may negotiate with the Bengals or any other NFL team, without compensation or signing deadline issues.