The New Orleans Saints are leaning toward placing an original round/right of first refusal restricted free agent tender on OLB Jonathan Casillas, a source told thesidelineview.com.
The move, if the team stays with its current plan, is a bit surprising considering fourth-year linebacker played in over 51 percent of the defensive snaps last season. And the speedy defender is one of the Saints top special teams players.
It was originally thought that the team would use a second-round tender valued at $1.927 million on Casillas, but because of their salary cap issues, the team is leaning toward saving $667,000 by using a right of first refusal tender valued at $1.26 million.
Casillas became one of the team’s biggest surprises during the 2009 season after making the roster as an undrafted free agent.
The undersized but speedy defender started two games in his rookie season and has started seven games in his career. He missed the 2010 season due to a foot injury.
While restricted free agents rarely get offers from other teams in free agency, Casillas, because of his upside and speed, could get an offersheet from another team if he winds up getting the lowest tender.
If Casillas winds up getting the low tender, the Saints would have the ability to match an offersheet he received from another team. However, they would get no compensation back in return should they decline to match the offer since he was not drafted.
Casillas, 24, fits in a 4-3 defense at WLB.
Restricted free agent tenders are due on the first day of free agency by 4:00 p.m. ET.