Some players look to avoid midnight madness

Players have until 11:59 ET Monday night to sign their tenders, or their clubs could then lower the offers from the original levels. The teams would also still retain the players’ rights for the 2010 season.

Teams have 24 hours — beginning at midnight tonight — to then execute the transaction of officially lowering the offer. Many teams sent letters of intent, telling players their tenders would be lowered, but  that process does not truly begin until midnight.

Saints running back Pierre Thomas signed his tender Monday evening, according to a league source, and Saints wide receiver Lance Moore will sign his tender this week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, reducing the number of players still unsigned to 13.

Thomas has been seeking a long-term deal and was not pleased with the pace of negotiations, staying away from much offseason work at the team facility.

Moore has taken part in the Saints’ offseason program and did not receive a letter threatening to lower his tender on June 15. The difference between the minimum 10 percent raise to Moore’s 2009 salary ($1.545 million) and his current tender is roughly $60,000, thus this deadline did not have the financial ramifications for him as it does some other players.

The 13 players are:

Green Bay Packers: SS Atari Bigby; DE Johnny Jolly; CB Tramon Williams

Kansas City Chiefs: FS Jarrad Page

Miami Dolphins: RB Ronnie Brown

New England Patriots: G Logan Mankins

New Orleans Saints: T Jammal Brown; SS Roman Harper

San Diego Chargers: WR Vincent Jackson; T Marcus McNeill; OLB Shawne Merriman

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: T Donald Penn

Washington Redskins: CB Carlos Rogers

Of the players on that list, Merriman and Rogers were tendered at 110 percent of their 2009 salaries, for instance, so the June 15 tender-reduction deadline does not apply. Others, like Penn, Mankins, Jackson and McNeil have made it clear, either publicly or privately, that they do not intend to sign their tenders despite facing the prospect of their offers being reduced by millions in most cases (Penn’s would lower by roughly $100,000).

The players who face the biggest potential loss in salary offered are Mankins, Jackson and McNeil.

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