Tonyan put together a breakout campaign in 2020 with 586 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. He finished third on the Packers for receiving and second in receiving touchdowns.
This offseason, Bob Tonyan is a restricted free agent. But the Packers have an easy choice to make.
Given how valuable he has become to this offense as one of the most consistent and reliable targets Aaron Rodgers has, there’s no other option than to bring him back in 2021.
As a restricted free agent, Green Bay has a number of options. One would be to offer Tonyan a long-term contract extension. That would ensure he’s with the team on a multi-year deal and won’t become an unrestricted free agent a year from now.
However, they don’t need to do that.
As a RFA, the Packers can sign a one-year qualifying offer. For a limited time, any other team in the NFL would be able to negotiate a long-term deal with Tonyan, but the Packers would have the opportunity to match it. If no offer comes in from another team, the Packers would take on the cap hit of the tender.
There are three choices. The cheapest is the “right of first refusal”. According to Over The Cap, it projects to be at $2.13 million in 2021. If another team agrees to a contract with Tonyan, the Packers would have the option to match it. If they declined, he would sign with the other team.
Next is a second-round tender. According to Over The Cap, it projects to have a cap hit of $3.38 million. The Packers would still get the right of first refusal, but if they opted against matching any offers, they’d receive a second-round pick as compensation.
The first-rounder tender is projected to have a cap hit of $4.77 million, according to Over The Cap. Similarly, if the Packers declined the opportunity to match an extension by another team, they’d receive a first-round pick.
Given how important Tonyan is to this offense, they will likely have to use a first- or second-round tender. At the very least, if another team was willing to offer big money for Tonyan that the Packers couldn’t match, they’d receive a draft pick in return.
But with an opportunity to match any offer sheet that comes in, Green Bay needs to ensure that Tonyan is back in 2021.