The Green Bay Packers announced that two moves were official when the NFL’s new league year began on Wednesday: The re-signing of kick returner Keisean Nixon and the re-signing of tight end Tyler Davis. Nixon’s signing was reported on the first day of the NFL’s “legal tampering period,” but bringing back Davis was actually broken by the press release and is somewhat of a surprise.
Davis was one of three of the Packers’ restricted free agents, who either needed to be tendered by 4 PM Eastern or were subject to unrestricted free agency. While Green Bay placed a second-round tender on tackle Yosh Nijman, worth $4.3 million on a one-year deal, Davis and inside linebacker Krys Barnes were allowed to hit the open market, at least momentarily.
Two minutes after Davis was officially considered an unrestricted free agent in the league’s eyes, the Packers announced he was re-signed by the team. The lowest tender for restricted free agents is an original round/right-of-first refusal tender, which comes at a cost of $2.6 million. The assumption, although contract details are not yet official, is that Green Bay didn’t place a tender on Davis because he re-signed to the team at a lower cost, which was less impactful on the Packers’ already stretched-thin salary cap.
When we polled Acme Packing Company’s readership, the tight end position was ranked only second behind the safety position in terms of the Packers’ greatest needs heading into this off-season. At the moment, Davis and Josiah Deguara are the only tight ends on the 2023 roster who have played any live snaps for Green Bay in their NFL careers. Deguara is more of a move tight end — frequently found in the backfield — while Davis is an inline tight end — lining up with his hand in the dirt.
Davis didn’t have to play much in his two years as a Packer, as Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan were the featured tight ends in the offense. Currently, both of those tight ends are now on the open market and reports have linked Lewis to both the New York Jets — where quarterback Aaron Rodgers will eventually be traded — and the Las Vegas Raiders. There is no promise that they come back to the team in 2023 and, in fact, it’s pretty unlikely that they will, due to the Packers’ cap situation.
Davis was originally drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 before signing onto the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad following roster cutdowns in his second season in the league. After less than a month in Indianapolis, the Packers poached him and signed him to their active roster in 2021. Over the last two years, he has played 31 games and made one start on the offensive side of the ball. He’s caught eight passes for 61 yards and has played 295 offensive snaps to 654 special teams reps in Green Bay.