Wednesday marks the start of the new league year in the NFL, meaning it’s also the deadline for teams to place tenders on their restricted free agents. For the Green Bay Packers, their main (and possibly only) target to re-sign is offensive lineman Yosh Nijman — who has played both tackle positions but most recently spent time as the Packers’ right tackle.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Green Bay has given Nijman a second-round tender ahead of the deadline. This was the expected move and now gives the Packers the first right of refusal on any offer sheet that another team could potentially offer Nijman. The terms of the one-year deal, as it stands today, is that Nijman will be paid $4.3 million in 2023.
Because Nijman is a restricted free agent, any of the other 31 teams around the league can give him an offer sheet — essentially a contract offer. If Nijman accepts another team’s offer sheet — and the Packers choose not to match it — then Green Bay would be rewarded with Nijman’s new team’s 2023 second-round pick.
Two other Packers, inside linebacker Krys Barnes and tight end Tyler Davis, are also restricted free agents this offseason. Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated reported earlier this week that Green Bay will not tender Davis, due to the cost associated with the tender. A potential Barnes tender hasn’t been reported by the local beat but it’s unlikely he is given a tender as the Packers’ anticipated inside linebacker starters in 2023 are De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker.
Nijman was originally signed by Green Bay in 2019 as an undrafted free agent and hardly saw the field in his first two years in the NFL. In 2021, Nijman served as Elgton Jenkins’ replacement at left tackle when preferred starter David Bakhtiari missed virtually the entire season at the position. Upon Bakhtiari’s return and Jenkins’ move back to left guard in 2022, Nijman took over the right tackle position as a preferred starter. In total, the Virginia Tech product has made 21 starts and played in all 34 games over the last two regular seasons.
For what it’s worth, no player in NFL history has been given the second-round tender in restricted free agency and later been poached away by another team. The combination of the potential price of an offer sheet on top of giving up a second-round pick usually dissuades teams from trying to steal restricted free agents of Nijman’s caliber.
The offensive line market has been exploding in free agency, though, in similar ways to the receiver market last season. If you need an example of this, look no further than Andre Dillard — who was largely considered a bust coming into unrestricted free agency. The former first-round pick has only started five games over the last three seasons but signed a three-year, $29 million contract by the Tennessee Titans this week. At the very least, Nijman’s average per year on a multi-year contract should bottom out in that $9.7 million range that Dillard received.