A pair of the Green Bay Packers’ easiest Free Agency decisions of 2017 has been made. According to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers will give inside linebacker Joe Thomas an Exclusive-Rights Free Agent tender, ensuring that he will stay in Green Bay for at least one more season. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky is reporting the same for wide receiver Geronimo Allison.
All ERFA and Restricted Free Agent tenders must be issued prior to the start of the new league year. That kicks in at 4:00 PM Eastern on Thursday, March 9th. The ERFA tender typically is a one-year deal for the league minimum salary, dependent on the eligible player’s experience. That would give the team the latitude to try to work out a long-term deal (if it chooses to do so), or would allow the player to become a Restricted Free Agent when he hits three years of experience.
Thomas worked his way from a roster afterthought over the summer to become the team’s three-down inside linebacker by the end of the 2016 season. He played in every game last year, recording 68 total tackles, one interception, and five pass breakups.
Allison, on the other hand, was an undrafted free agent signing last May, and started the season on the practice squad. He was promoted around midseason and recorded 12 catches on 20 targets for 202 yards (16.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns. He added 5 receptions for 65 yards in the Packers’ three playoff games.
We now need to wait and see whether the Packers will end up offering the same tenders to their other Exclusive-Rights Free Agents. Reports have already indicated that they will do so for punter Jacob Schum, but there are several other players in that category, including defensive lineman Christian Ringo and a handful of running backs.
UPDATE: Moments after this article was published, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Michael Cohen reported that the Packers had given an ERFA tender to DL Christian Ringo. He will be back for the 2017 season as well.