Teams negotiating contract extensions with players facing restricted free agency in the coming summer are working from a position of strength. With the right to match any offer their restricted free agent receives after the season, organizations hold a ubiquitous power over young players throughout such discourse.
In a vacuum, teams assessing whether or not to award a non-maximum extension before the early-season deadline should ask themselves a simple question: Is there a chance this prospective deal comes in below a player's market value this summer? If not, there's just no blanket justification for granting these often-lucrative contracts. Outperform expectations? Franchises will gladly pay the inflated price. Underwhelm? That omnipresent power in free agency remains.