Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company takes a look at each position group on the Green Bay Packers and provides grades and insight on how they performed in the 2020 season. We also will examine the players on each unit who will be free agents in 2021. Today, we examine the quarterbacks.
In 2021, the Green Bay Packers have 25 players set to become free agents of one form or another. As we begin to work through the process of figuring out what the Packers will do with their roster — particularly with the salary cap expected to drop to around $181 million for the coming season — we will analyze each of those players over the next two weeks.
Today we begin by looking at the one free agent-to-be quarterback on the roster: backup Tim Boyle.
NFL Experience: 3 years
FA Status: Restricted Free Agent
Expiring Contract: 3 years, $1.716 million total (league minimum)
The Packers have spent three years developing Boyle, a former UConn and Eastern Kentucky quarterback with a laser beam projector for an arm, into a bit of a preseason darling. After serving as the Packers’ third-string quarterback in 2018 behind Aaron Rodgers and DeShone Kizer, Boyle led all signal-callers in passer rating during the 2019 preseason. His stat line of 34-57 (59.6% completions), 356 yards (6.2 Y/A), six touchdowns, and no picks earned him the backup job over Kizer, and he has made 11 appearances in the last two seasons.
During that regular season action, Boyle has done little else but take a knee. He has attempted just four passes, completing three for a total of 15 yards with all of those attempts coming late in a blowout loss to the 49ers in 2019.
Boyle now enters free agency for the first time in his NFL career, and he does so as a restricted free agent. The Packers will have the option to extend a tender to Boyle to maintain the ability to match any possible contract offers he would receive, but the lowest tender should still cost over $2 million. With the salary cap crunch coming for 2021, it’s unlikely that the team can afford to carry three different quarterbacks with cap hits over $2 million, particularly if the team would rather not see two of them play at all except in garbage time.
Because of Jordan Love’s draft status, he should get every opportunity to be the Packers’ #2 quarterback in 2021. The Packers may bring Boyle back to compete in training camp at a league-minimum salary, but it’s nigh-impossible to imagine him getting a RFA tender with the team needing to shed around $28 million in cap space just to get under the expected cap based on existing contracts alone.