The Green Bay Packers entered the 2020 offseason with five players set to become exclusive-rights free agents. That type of free agency applies to players with two or fewer accrued seasons, and the collective bargaining agreement allows for a great deal of team control over these players.
Specifically, the player’s previous team may issue the player a qualifying offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights for the upcoming season. That offer is effectively a one-year contract worth the applicable league minimum salary for the player’s experience level. Once offered, the players can try to negotiate a different deal with the team, but are not eligible to speak to or sign with another franchise.
On Tuesday morning, the first reports of ERFA tenders have been revealed. According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the Packers have officially tendered wide receiver Jake Kumerow and defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster.
Kumerow accrued his second season of NFL experience in 2019 despite entering the league back in 2015. Last year, he caught 12 passes in 14 games, picking up 219 yards and scoring one touchdown. Lancaster was a second-year player out of Northwestern in 2019 who has grown into a significant contributor on the defensive line. He played the third-most snaps on the line in 2019 — 37 percent of all defensive plays — while recording 30 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
In total, the Packers have five players eligible for ERFA this year. That group consists of wide receiver Allen Lazard, cornerback Chandon Sullivan, and tight end Robert Tonyan, in addition to Kumerow and Lancaster. All five players served significant roles in 2019, and are expected to be at the very least in contention for roster spots — and in a few cases, major contributory roles — in the upcoming season. As such, expect reports of the other three players receiving their tenders before the deadline at the start of the 2020 league year on Wednesday afternoon.
UPDATE: According to Bill Huber of SI, Sullivan has also received his tender. Sullivan played a major role for the Packers last season as a slot cornerback/safety, recording 30 tackles and an interception in 350 snaps. Sullivan had stellar advanced stats, allowing a completion percentage of just 35.5% into his coverage and a passer rating of only 34.3.
UPDATE: ERFA number four has received his tender. That is tight end Robert Tonyan, whose tender was reported by Tom Silverstein. This leaves Allen Lazard as the only member of the group without a confirmed tender so far.
UPDATE: Lazard received his tender today as well, according to his agent. That makes all five of these players locked in for 2020, and all are likely to play on the one-year tender for the upcoming season.