The Green Bay Packers have begun tendering their exclusive rights free agents, starting with a few players expected to push for deep roster spots in 2021.
According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers have offered tenders to both offensive tackle Yosh Nijman and wide receiver Malik Taylor, maintaining the rights over two of their four exclusive rights free agents this offseason.
Green Bay still needs to make decisions on two more exclusive rights free agents — edge rusher Randy Ramsey and wide receiver Allen Lazard — along with the rest of their restricted free agents. Reports have already emerged that the Packers won’t tend backup quarterback Tim Boyle or safety Raven Greene, but nothing has been decided for tight end Robert Tonyan, defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster and cornerbacks Parry Nickerson and Chandon Sullivan.
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Where Do Nijman & Taylor Fit for 2021?
There’s not much surprising about the Packers re-upping with a pair of developing talent at positions short on depth, but how big of a role can be expected of either Nijman or Taylor next season?
Nijman joined the Packers midway through the 2019 season as a member of their practice squad and, after signing a futures deal, earned an active roster spot coming out of his first training camp in Green Bay. The thing is Nijman never played a snap despite there being clear moments where the Packers would have benefitted from having another tackle available. He was ruled a healthy inactive in every game with offensive line coach Adam Stenavich indicating prior to the season that Nijman had a long way to go before he was ready to get playing time.
While the Packers tendering Nijman suggest they believe in his potential, it will be interesting to see whether he can take a significant step forward in his development and contribute some quality reps at either of the tackle spots next year.
Taylor also spent the 2020 season on the Packers’ active roster but, unlike Nijman, was actually called upon to contribute for the offense. He caught five passes for 66 yards and a touchdown on the year, playing 166 offensive snaps and another 181 on special teams. The Packers don’t exactly need him to take a massive leap with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin Funchess and (likely) Lazard, but he could still earn a greater role with the team if he sets himself apart in the preseason against Equanimeous St. Brown, Juwann Winfree, Reggie Begelton and Chris Blair.