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Packers’ 2022 Free Agents include 11 players who started 5 or more games in 2021

It will be a tough offseason for Green Bay as a multitude of key players look for new contracts.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have their work cut out for them this offseason. Specifically, Russ Ball has his work cut out — the Packers have a glut of 23 players on their roster whose contracts expire at the start of the 2022 league year and will therefore be eligible for some form of free agency, and a number of them played significant roles for this team in 2021.

Adding to the complexity of the issue is the fact that the Packers have to clear around $50 million off their 2022 salary cap before the league year begins just to get under the cap — let alone to make room for any of these players. Still, there will be mechanisms available to the team to do so, and Ball will likely use every avenue at his disposal to give the team enough flexibility to make the moves it decides are right in order to keep the team competitive in 2022 and beyond.

But before we at Acme Packing Company dig too far into what those moves might look like, let’s first examine the players who will be hitting free agency. As a reminder, here’s a quick primer on the types of free agency that are available to players based on their service time.

Unrestricted Free Agency

Available to any player with four or more accrued seasons*, unrestricted free agency means that a player can sign with any team at any time after the start of the new league year. The net loss and gain of UFAs for a team is used to calculate the next season’s compensatory draft picks, but no other compensation is available to a team who sees a player leave as a UFA.

Restricted Free Agency

Only to players with three accrued seasons are eligible to be restricted free agents. Before the start of the league year, a team may place one of three tenders on a RFA, which effectively gives the player the option to play on a one-year contract for a set amount of money, depending on the tender. After the league year begins, a tendered player may sign an offer sheet with another team, but the tendering team has the right to match the contract and keep the player.

If the tendering team does not match the deal, the team signing the player may be required to give up a draft pick to the tendering team in order to sign said player. The draft pick depends on the tender used; either a first-round pick, a second-round pick, or a pick in the draft round the player was originally chosen in. (If an undrafted player receives this third tender, no draft pick is exchanged, as the tendering team just retains the right to match any offer sheets.)

Exclusive-Rights Free Agency

Players with two or fewer accrued seasons are exclusive-rights free agents prior to the start of the league year. A team may issue an ERFA tender to any of these players before that date, which bars them from negotiating contracts with any other NFL team. The player may sign that tender, which is equivalent to a one-year contract at the appropriate league-minimum salary for that players’ experience level, or may try to negotiate a longer-term deal with the tendering team.

Finally, RFAs or ERFAs who do not receive a tender before the league year begins become “street free agents.” A SFA has all the rights of a UFA, but are not counted in the compensatory pick formula.

* Note: a player earns an accrued season when he spends at least six weeks on the active roster, injured reserve, PUP list, or some other other full-pay roster status in a single regular season.

With the primer out of the way, here’s the list of the Packers’ free agents heading into the offseason. Provided for reference are the players’ experience levels, expiring contracts, and any dead money remaining on their contracts that will affect the Packers’ 2022 salary cap due to void years.

Packers 2022 Free Agents

Name Position FA Type Accrued Seasons 2022 Dead Money Expiring Contract
Name Position FA Type Accrued Seasons 2022 Dead Money Expiring Contract
Adams, Davante WR UFA 8 $0 4 years, $58M
Barnes, Krys ILB ERFA 2 $0 2 years, $1.39M
Black, Henry S ERFA 2 $0 2 years, $1.39M
Bojorquez, Corey P UFA 4 $0 1 year, $1.02M
Burks, Oren ILB UFA 4 $0 4 years, $3.455M
Campbell, De'Vondre ILB UFA 6 $808,000 1 year, $2M
Dafney, Dominique TE ERFA 1 $0 2 years, $1.39M
Douglas, Rasul CBo UFA 5 $0 1 year, $990k
Hanson, Jake C ERFA 0 $0 1 year, $660k
Kelly, Dennis OT UFA 9 $0 1 year, $1.325M
King, Kevin CBo UFA 5 $3,000,000 1 year, $5M
Lancaster, Tyler IDL UFA 4 $0 1 year, $1.25M
Lazard, Allen WR RFA 3 $0 1 year, $850k
Mercilus, Whitney EDGE UFA 10 $0 1 year, $1.075M
Nijman, Yosh OT ERFA 2 $0 1 year, $850k
Patrick, Lucas G/C UFA 5 $0 2 years, $3M
Ramsey, Randy EDGE ERFA 3 $0 1 year, $780k
Rivers, Chauncey EDGE ERFA 2 $0 1 year, $469k
St. Brown, Equanimeous WR UFA 4 $0 1 year, $850k
Sullivan, Chandon CBs UFA 4 $970,400 1 year, $2.133M
Taylor, Malik WR ERFA 3 $0 1 year, $780k
Tonyan, Robert TE UFA 4 $1,879,200 1 year, $3.384M
Valdes-Scantling, Marquez WR UFA 4 $0 4 years, $2.678M

Of these players, 11 started at least five games in 2022. Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, De’Vondre Campbell, Krys Barnes, Robert Tonyan, and Chandon Sullivan all were in starting roles to begin the 2021 season, while Patrick, Nijman, and Douglas worked their way into the lineup due to injuries over the course of the year. Kevin King, of course, was also in the mix as a starting cornerback for much of the season, starting his first six games of the season before giving way to Douglas as the full-time starter the rest of the way

Meanwhile, Campbell and Douglas will both likely cash in with big paydays this season after earning major honors for their impressive performances, despite modest paychecks in Green Bay. Campbell was a first-team All-Pro linebacker, while Douglas earned Pro Bowl alternate honors, and both were cheap additions for the Packers. Campbell signed his contract in early June, while Douglas was a practice squad addition early in the season.

There is effectively no way that the Packers can or will keep all of these players. However, expect them to bring back all of their ERFA players on tenders while also extending a tender of some sort to their lone RFA, Lazard. The UFAs, however, will be a different story, as many of these names are sure to depart.