Thursday we took a look at the Restricted Free Agents of the Seattle Seahawks this offseason, and today we will take a quick gander at the Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs) of the team.
ERFAs are players whose contracts have expired and have zero, one or two accrued seasons in the NFL. As noted in the article on RFAs, accrued seasons are any season in which the player spent at least six games in full pay status, which means on the active roster or injured reserve. Players on the Non-Football Injury list (NFI) and the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP) do not earn accrued seasons.
With RFAs we looked at the different decisions teams have to make regarding these players, as they first must decide whether to tender a player, and then if they are going to tender a RFA teams must decide at what level to tender the player.
When it comes to ERFAs the process is typically much simpler, as teams truly only need to decide whether to tender the ERFA or not. If the team decides to tender the ERFA, they will typically offer a minimum salary contract to the player. The reason they do this is because ERFAs basically have no leverage, as they have two options - play for the contract offered or go find another job.
The ERFAs for the Seahawks this season are as follows:
Seahawks ERFAs during the 2018 offseason
Many of those names may not jump right out at fans, but there are several players who could be important role players. Branden Jackson, Garrison Smith and Quinton Jefferson have all been contributors on the defensive line after coming to Seattle from another West Coast club. Jackson spent most of 2016 on the Raiders practice squad and was signed to the Seahawks practice squad in late September after Cliff Avril initially suffered his neck injury in Week 2. Jackson was then added to the active roster in advance of the Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Rams after Avril’s injury took a turn for the worse in Week 4 against the Indianapolis Colts.
Smith is a defensive tackle who has been on the active roster for the Hawks for periods of each of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He came to Seattle after being claimed off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers at the end of training camp in 2016, and he has filled a depth role as a rotational defensive lineman for the team.
Jefferson is a name most fans will likely recognize from his status as a 2016 draft pick of the Hawks. QJeff was waived by the Seahawks at the end of training camp in 2017, picked up by the Rams practice squad, and then poached from the Rams practice squad to fill the roster spot left empty when Chris Carson was placed on IR. For those who recall, in a stroke of bad luck QJeff broke his hand within the first fifteen minutes of his first practice with the Seahawks, making his celebration of being promoted to an active roster short lived.
J.D. McKissic is a name most fans will likely recognize, as he was one of the multitude of running backs the team used over the course of the season and put up respectable numbers. Tyrone Swoopes is a developmental tight end who played a couple of snaps in the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals. Joey Hunt is a 2016 draft pick who was promoted from the practice squad to be the backup center late in the season, Tyler Ott is the long snapper. Josh Forrest and Paul Dawson were depth linebackers who primarily played special teams late in the season. The remaining three, Akeem King, Jordan Simone and Tyrus Thompson all spent the season on IR after getting injured either in training camp or while on the practice squad.
And those are the ERFAs. Most of them will likely be with the team when training camp arrives, though there is obviously always a possibility that the team could move on from one of them at some point. That is exactly what the Hawks did with Troymaine Pope during the 2017 offseason, as he was initially signed by the Hawks after being extended an ERFA tender, but was then waived at the end of May after the draft.
There will likely be an article in mid-March documenting which of the ERFAs were extended a tender offer, and it can be anticipated that many of those players who were tendered will sign their offer in April when they are at the team facilities for offseason workouts. In any case, there is unlikely to be a lot of news regarding these players until OTAs and training camp, but it is one more thing to keep an eye on during the offseason.