CINCINNATI -- Hours before the start of the new league year, the Cincinnati Bengals declined to offer a restricted free-agent tender Tuesday to defensive tackle Devon Still, making him a free agent who could be signed by any team.
Offers from elsewhere notwithstanding, the Bengals could re-sign him at any time but for an amount less than the $1.54 million low-round tender that he qualified for. The hope in Cincinnati is that he will come back.
According to a team source, the Bengals have extended a one-year offer to Still. He's currently mulling that contract while also considering family concerns. The reserve lineman has received a lot of attention in recent months because of his 4-year-old daughter's public cancer fight. Leah Still's battle has been one of sports' biggest feel-good stories in the past year.
In November, on the night of one of two prime time home games the Bengals had this past season, the organization presented a check for $1.25 million to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to help advance research efforts into pediatric cancers. The money was raised through team sales of Still's black, No. 75 Bengals jersey.
Coming off offseason back surgery, Still had a career-high 19 tackles as a backup in 2014.
While also declining the tender offer to Still, the Bengals on Tuesday formally extended offers to outside linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and cornerback Chris Lewis-Harriss. Lamur's restricted free-agent tender was slotted at the second-round level, meaning he'll be due $2.4 million in 2015 if he chooses to accept it. He has until April 24 to sign the offer. Before then, he's free to negotiate with other teams, but the Bengals have the chance to match any competing offer. There's also a chance he could negotiate a longer-term contract with the Bengals, but that's unlikely.
Lewis-Harris was tendered to an offer as an exclusive rights free agent. He either could sign that tender or negotiate a longer deal with the Bengals, as well. If he agrees to the tender, Lewis-Harris will be the second Bengal to agree to an exclusive rights free agent offer this offseason. Tight end Kevin Brock signed a one-year deal as an exclusive rights free agent the week after the Bengals' season ended. He's due to make $585,000 next season.