Any player who has an expiring contract who has three accrued seasons, but less than four accrued seasons, is considered a restricted free agent. An accrued season is any year in which a player is on the 53-man roster for at least six games.
A RFA is a player who has received a qualifying offer from his old club (negotiated in the CBA), but is free to look and negotiated with other clubs. However, if he accepts an offer from a new club, his old club is allowed to match the offer and retain him. If the old team does not match the offer, they could possibly receiver draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. (The qualifying offer is known as a "tender").
So I hope that helps you understand what happens with RFA's.
Michael Thomas is set to become a RFA and the team is going to have to decide what to do with him. Let's take a look at how he has performed as a Dolphin.
Thomas joined the Dolphins near the end of the 2013 season after being waived by the San Francisco 49ers. His most memorable achievement that year was the game winning interception against Tom Brady.
In 2014 Thomas appeared in 8 games, starting 2 of them. He recorded 15 tackles before ending up on injured reserve in November of that year. Fast forward to 2015, Thomas appeared in every game and started in 13 games. He recorded 85 tackles. Thomas was named to the PFF All-Pro team as a special teams player. Thomas was praised for being a great special teams player.
So the question is, should the Dolphins tender him?
I mean, why not. Guy is a core special teams player and gives us a fall back option at safety for the time being. He's not the best free safety, but he's not the worst either.
If you look at the free agent market for safeties, there are quite a few talented players who will be available. Reggie Nelson has been linked to Miami, due to Vance Joseph.
So would you tender Thomas? Do you think the Dolphins will? Feel free to discuss below.