Exclusive-rights free agency is a bit of an afterthought in the NFL. Players with fewer than three accrued seasons of experience have little to no negotiating power under the league’s current collective bargaining agreement, as they remain entirely under team control until their fourth season.
Still, it is notable any time a player signs a contract, and that happened today with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jake Kumerow. Despite entering the NFL in 2015, Kumerow has just one season of experience accrued towards free agency, and with his contract up in 2019, the Packers used an exclusive-rights tender on him for the upcoming season — essentially a one-year contract at the player’s league-minimum salary. For someone with one year of experience, that value is $570,000 in 2019.
On Friday, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that Kumerow has signed that tender, locking him in for the upcoming season. The timing of the signing is notable; the Packers begin their offseason workout program on Monday, and without signing the tender, Kumerow may have been unable to participate on day one.
The Packers used five tenders on ERFA players in 2019, and Kumerow is the second reported player to sign his, joining offensive lineman Justin McCray. Reggie Gilbert, Lucas Patrick, and Robert Tonyan have yet to sign, and likely will do so before Monday.
A player must spend six games on either injured reserve or the 53-man roster in a single season in order to collect an accrued season towards free agency. Kumerow spent the first half of the year on injured reserve in 2018, then played in the Packers’ final five games, hitting those qualifications. He did spend a brief time on IR with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2016, but not long enough to log an accrued season.