Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Building The 53 - How to Handle 2015 Exclusive Rights Free Agents

The Green Bay Packers have two exclusive rights free agents this off-season: Chris Banjo (S) and DuJuan Harris (RB).  The reason that both players are exclusive rights free agents are that they each have less than three years of NFL experience, which means Packers general manager Ted Thompson can retain both for slightly more than their 2014 salary via a low-cost, one-year contract.

If tendered for 2015 by Thompson that means that Banjo would earn ~$500,000 while Harris would earn ~$650,000.  Banjo appeared in three games for the Packers in 2014 and registered just one tackle.  Harris provided the Packers with more production in 2014 than Banjo given that Harris appeared in 15 games but still did very little from the line of scrimmage for the Packers: 64 yards on 16 carries.  Going into 2014 it looked like Harris was going to be a revelation on kick-off returns but he managed to amass just 456 ho-hum yards on 22 kick-off returns.  Oh what a difference two years makes given that Banjo got much more playing time two years ago and Harris looked like a potential starting running back.  This all paints a dismal picture for either player getting tendered but the economics of retaining both via a one-year deal just makes too much sense.

2015 Off-Season Advice for TT
Projections for Practice Squad
How to Handle 2015 ERFA's
How to Handle 2015 RFA's
How to Handle 2015 UFA's
Free Agent Shopping Guide
Potential Salary Cap Casualties
Locks for The 53 in 2015
Thompson has until Tuesday, March 10th to tender Banjo and/or Harris.  Both are probably the easiest decision of the entire off-season for Thompson given that by tendering them they are signed to non-guaranteed, one-year deals for what amounts to the league minimum.  Sure Banjo is essentially the 5th safety on the depth chart behind Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde, and Sean Richardson and Harris is the 3rd running back on the depth chart behind Eddie Lacy and James Starks so they are both deep backups but spending essentially $1 million to fill two roster spots on The 53 in 2015 just makes too much economic sense if one or both guys can earn one of the coveted 53 spots on The 53.  Worst case, Thompson identifies better options so he cuts Banjo and/or Harris with no salary cap consequences.

Make sure to check back tomorrow when I give my advice to Thompson for how to handle his three restricted free agents.

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