The Green Bay Packers have sixty players on their active roster and injured reserve as of the conclusion of their 2016 NFL season, and a number of them have contracts which will expire on March 9th. That is the date that the 2017 league year begins, and when free agency kicks off.
Exactly 20 of those 60 players will be free agents in some fashion, whether they are Unrestricted, Restricted, or Exclusive-Rights free agents. Here we break down which players fall into each of those categories and the critical differences between the three types of free agency.
(Note that the number 60 does not include the ten players on the practice squad, who do not receive multi-year contracts but who are all likely to be signed to futures contracts in the coming days.)
Unrestricted Free Agents (11)
- T/G Don Barclay — Re-signing on one-year, $1.3M contract
- TE Jared Cook
- LS Brett Goode
- DB Micah Hyde — reportedly will not re-sign with Packers
- OLB Datone Jones
- RB Eddie Lacy
- G T.J. Lang
- RB Christine Michael
- OLB Julius Peppers
- OLB Nick Perry — Reportedly re-signing with Packers on 5-year, $60M contract
- C/G JC Tretter — Reportedly signing with Cleveland Browns
These players all have four or more accrued seasons of NFL experience and their contracts have expired. Therefore, they will be eligible to sign with any NFL team when free agency begins on March 9th.
Until March 7th, these players may only negotiate with the Packers. However, their agents may begin discussing contract terms with other teams on March 7th, under the condition that no deals are formally agreed upon.
Restricted Free Agents (2)
- OLB Jayrone Elliott — Packers will not extend RFA tender
- ILB Jordan Tripp
These players have completed three NFL seasons, and are therefore eligible for Restricted Free Agency. The Packers can extend a RFA tender to any of the three, which would give Green Bay the right to match any offer sheet from another franchise and/or to receive additional compensation for them if they sign elsewhere.
Elliott seems the most likely player to receive a right-of-first-refusal tender, though even that could be unlikely since he was a scratch for several games late in the season.
Tender values have not yet been set for 2017, since the salary cap value is not yet finalized, but here are the values from 2016:
Right of First Refusal tender: $1.671 million
2nd-Round tender: $2.553 million
1st-round tender: $3.635 million
Exclusive-Rights Free Agents (7)
- WR Geronimo Allison — received ERFA tender
- RB John Crockett
- RB Don Jackson — received ERFA tender
- FB Joe Kerridge
- DE Christian Ringo - received ERFA tender
- P Jacob Schum — expected to re-sign with Packers
- ILB Joe Thomas — received ERFA tender
These players have two or fewer seasons of experience and expiring contracts; as long as the Packers offer them a league-minimum exclusive-rights tender, they cannot negotiate with any other teams. If the Packers do not offer one of these players that tender, he would become an Unrestricted free agent and would be free to sign anywhere.
Allison, Thomas, and Schum are probably locks to receive the tender, and the Packers will almost certainly do the same with Ringo. Crockett and Jackson are question marks, along with Kerridge.