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Packers Free Agency: Jamari Lattimore Given Low Restricted Free Agent Tender

The Packers made their first surprise move of free agency today, tendering a young and promising inside linebacker.

Jamie Squire

In a somewhat surprising move, the Green Bay Packers have elected to tender one of their two restricted free agents this afternoon. Most reports indicated that they would not be tendering either inside linebacker Jamari Lattimore or safety M.D. Jennings, but the team evidently decided that Lattimore was too valuable to chance him signing with another team in free agency:

The low tender comes with no draft-pick compensation if Lattimore is signed by another team. However, it does allow the Packers to match another team's contract offer sheet, if Lattimore were to receive one.

The Packers used this same tender on center Evan Dietrich-Smith a year ago, and he signed the tender and now is hitting unrestricted free agency this year. Lattimore clearly has been judged as a capable backup inside linebacker and a critical part of the Packers' special teams, and the team values his contributions enough that the difference of around $750,000 between the tender and the fourth-year minimum salary is worth paying in order to ensure his return for 2014.

UPDATE: According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein, Lattimore would have had some suitors on the free agent market if Ted Thompson did not tender him: