The Steelers have issued tenders to four of their six restricted free agents in advance of the start of free agency on Friday, March 5.
The restricted free agents to receive tenders from the team are Willie Colon, William Gay, Daniel Sepulveda and Matt Spaeth.
Based on NFL rules for restricted free agents, teams can issue one-year salary tenders, and the amounts of the salary tenders they choose determine the compensation they would receive should the player leave for another team. In all cases in which a tender is made, the original team also gets a right-of-first-refusal, where it can match any other offer to keep the player.
Colon, who has been the team's starting right tackle for the past three seasons, was tendered at a level where the Steelers would receive a first-round draft choice if he left.
The tenders extended to the other three would bring compensation in the form of a draft pick commensurate with the one in which the player originally entered the NFL.
For Gay, that would be a fifth-round pick; for Sepulveda, a fourth-round pick; and for Spaeth, a third-round pick.
For any team to sign Colon, Gay, Sepulveda or Spaeth to offer sheets, it must have the corresponding pick in the upcoming draft available in case the Steelers do not match and then are due the compensation. After a restricted free agent signs an offer sheet, his original team has seven days to decide either to match the offer and keep the player, or to accept the designated compensation.
There are four primary levels of tenders, with the highest bringing first- and third-round picks as compensation. From there, the levels are: first-round pick, second-round pick, and then the round in which the player originally entered the NFL.
The Steelers did not tender either Carey Davis or Darnell Stapleton, which means both of them will become unrestricted free agents on Friday. As unrestricted free agents, Davis and Stapleton could sign with any team in the NFL, including the Steelers.