NFL teams have until Feb. 26 to submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents, and the Patriots have three players in that category: OLB Pierre Woods, OL Wesley Britt and ILB Eric Alexander.
The following are the tender levels:
Other teams can sign restricted free agents to offer sheets, and if the original team doesn't match the offer, it receives draft pick compensation at the level in which the player was tendered.
The low tender level gives the original team a draft pick that corresponds with the round in which the player entered the NFL.
The Patriots' main decision this year is with Woods, who was the top backup at outside linebacker in 2008.
Because Woods entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent, the Patriots are likely to tender him at the second-round level.
Alexander and Britt would likely receive low tenders if the Patriots believe they are in their future plans.