On Wednesday, within minutes of the start of the 2022 NFL league year, the Green Bay Packers have brought back several depth players for the upcoming season. The team issues qualifying tenders to a number of exclusive-rights free agents on Wednesday, effectively locking them in to return to the Packers on one-year league-minimum salaries.
The most prominent name among this group is Yosh Nijman, the offensive tackle who started eight games in 2021. After signing with the Packers as an undrafted rookie in 2019, Nijman was active for every game in 2020 then turned out to be a critical piece of the Packers’ 2021 line. With David Bakhtiari out for most of the season and Elgton Jenkins tearing his ACL around the middle of the year, Nijman ended up playing more than 50% of the team’s offensive snaps over the course of the year, developing into a steady presence protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side.
In addition to Nijman, the Packers also tendered a player who started 23 games over the past two seasons: inside linebacker Krys Barnes. The 2020 rookie was a week one starter as a rookie and started 13 games in 2021, and has recorded at least 80 tackles in each of those two years.
In addition to Nijman and Barnes, the Packers tendered the following other players who qualify as ERFAs:
- TE Dominique Dafney
- C Jake Hanson
- OLB Randy Ramsey
- WR Malik Taylor
They chose not to tender safety Henry Black and outside linebacker Chauncey Rivers, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Of this group, Black played the most snaps in 2021, largely serving as the Packers’ dime defensive back and as the primary backup safety behind starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. Dafney was a fourth or fifth tight end for the Packers for much of the last season while also being a key contributor on special teams.