At first glance, it would seem Kirk Morrison would be a lock to receive a lucrative tender and remain a Raider in 2010 given the reported first- and third-round tender given to cornerback Stanford Routt.
Unless one of 31 NFL teams believes Routt to be worth first- and third-round draft picks, he’ll remain a Raider at $3.268 million _ not bad for a nickel back. He earned $620,000 in 2009 in the last year of his original contract.
While Routt started just once, Morrison is a five-year starter and has led the team in tackles for the last four.
But keep in in mind Al Davis economics and the fact that the Raiders have moved middle linebackers (Greg Biekert, Danny Clark) before, in part for economic reasons.
The Raiders philosophy is to keep pay for linebackers lower because they often come off the field for defensive backs anyway in nickel and dime defenses.
Here are the options with Morrison, with the Raiders having to make their move by 1 p.m. Thursday. The Raiders retain right of first refusal on any offer from another team.
— Tender Morrison at the same first and third level as Routt, where he would earn the same salary of $3.268 million.
— Tender Morrison at a first-round level, where he would earn $2.621 million.
— Tender Morrison at a second-round level. The pay at that level is $1,809,000 or 110 percent of the player’s 2009 salary _ whichever is higher.
Morrison’s original contract called for $545,000 in salary for his final season, but it contained escalators based on performance. According to NFLPA figures, Morrison earned $2,295,000 in salary last season. A 10 percent increase would be just over $2.5 million.
If Morrison signed with another team and the Raiders declined to match, they’d get a second-round draft pick.
— Tender Morrison at his “original draft round” (he was a third-round selection). He would make the same salary, just over $2.5 million, but would bring a third-round pick in return instead of a second.
— Tender Morrison at the lowest rung, a $1.226 million salary and right of first refusal with no compensation.
Linebacker Thomas Howard, with four accrued seasons instead of five, would come cheaper. He’d get $3,168 million with a first-and-third tender, $2.521 million with a first-round tender and could be had for $1,176 million with an original round tender. Howard was a second-round draft pick, so to tender him at a second-round level and its $1.759 million salary would be to put nearly $600,000 in his pocket over the course of the season.