12

March

Packers News: Team issues Restricted Free Agent tenders

Sam Shields received the second-round tender

Sam Shields received the second-round tender

Today is the day free agency is officially set to kick off, and it’s also the deadline for teams to tender their restricted free agents.

Yesterday, the Packers surprised some by hitting Evan Dietrich-Smith with the lowest possible tender. Because Dietrich-Smith was undrafted, the Packers would get no compensation if they he signed with another team and they opted not to match the contract. If the Packers don’t reach an extension with him before the season, he’ll make $1.323 million next year, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Dietrich-Smith is expected to step in as the team’s starting center if he returns. He replaced Jeff Saturday in the starting lineup in week 16 after starting four games at left guard earlier in the season.

According to Silverstein, Green Bay slapped Sam Shields with the second-round tender worth $2.023 million. If a team signs Shields to an offer sheet and the Packers choose not to match, they’ll get a second-round draft pick in return.

The Packers clearly don’t want to take a chance with Shields, as they are with Dietrich-Smith. Shields bounced back from a poor 2011 season and played well in 2012. Along with Casey Hayward, Tramon Williams and Davon House, Shields makes the team’s cornerback group one of the deepest positions on the team.

While Dietrich-Smith and Shields received their tenders, the team has decided not to tender linebackers Frank Zombo and Robert Francois, or tight end Tom Crabtree. Zombo and Francois would figure to generate only moderate interest on the open market, but Crabtree could garner some interest as a reserve tight end.

With the uncertain future of tight end Jermichael Finley, some were quick to point to Crabtree in identifying the team’s next starting tight end. And while Crabtree had his fair share of big plays in 2012, the team clearly doesn’t view him as a starting-caliber player or they would have handed down a tender.

Zombo, an undrafted rookie in 2010, has appeared in 12 of a possible 32 regular-season games the past two seasons. It’s possible the Packers could bring him back on a minimum contract.

Francois has been open about his desire to return to Green Bay after spending the last three seasons with the Packers. He made two starts in 2011 with Desmond Bishop sidelined with an injury, but his role is primarily on special teams.

Free agency is officially set to kick off in a couple hours at 3:00pm CDT.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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2 Responses to “Packers News: Team issues Restricted Free Agent tenders”

  1. GBPDAN says:

    EDS cant be to happy with his bottom tender. I hope hes back for insurance reasons

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  2. Stroh says:

    His only leverage is getting a better contract than the Packers were willing to give him. Thats not likely even at that price, since so few teams go after restricted FA. Teams don’t like to waste time negotiating when they figure the original team will match the offer anyway, so they don’t bother wasting the time and energy. No matter what EDS has more value to GB than any other team since they’ve invested time in developing and since he knows the offense so much better. Takes time to learn all the OL calls and get in synch w/ the other OL.

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