A few days ago, the Green Bay Packers locked in two of their exclusive-rights free agent players. They signed defensive lineman Fadol Brown to a one-year contract on Thursday before issuing a one-year ERFA tender to tight end Robert Tonyan on Friday evening.
Now, the rest of the team’s six-man ERFA class is locked in for 2019.
On Monday, news broke that all four of the other players with that free agent status for this season have received their tenders as well. That list includes outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert, wide receiver Jake Kumerow, and offensive guards Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported the roster moves.
Kumerow’s tender should come as no surprise. He looked poised for a significant role on offense in 2018 through two preseason games, but injured himself on a tuck-and-roll into the end zone and landed on injured reserve to start the season. However, he did return late in the year, catching a long touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers against the Jets in 2018. After earning Rodgers’ praise this summer, Kumerow should at least be in the running for a depth and special teams role in 2019.
Gilbert comes back as one of only a few edge rushers on the Packers’ roster with some level of certainty. Kyler Fackrell will enter his fourth NFL season this fall, and his contract will expire in 2020. Meanwhile, Nick Perry remains a candidate for release this week while Clay Matthews is set to be an unrestricted free agent. Gilbert had 2.5 sacks in rotational duty for the Packers last season.
The offensive linemen both represent intriguing young players with potential but who appear to be moving in different directions. McCray entered 2018’s training camp as the starting right guard, but poor play early in the season and an injury landed him on the bench in favor of veteran journeyman Byron Bell. Then late in the season, after Bell landed on injured reserve and McCray was back at full health, it was Patrick who took over as the starter. The team will surely look to add more talent at that position in free agency or the draft, but bringing both players back on will ensure some depth and competition at that spot.
The tender for an ERFA player is for a one-year contract at the league-minimum salary. Once tendered, the players are free to negotiate for a different deal with their team, but are not permitted to negotiate with other teams in the NFL.