Packers: How much will re-signing Robert Tonyan cost?

Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

After a career-year, Robert Tonyan became one of Aaron Rodgers’ most trusted targets in the Green Bay Packers offense.

Now Tonyan becomes a restricted free agent, leaving the Packers with a decision to make.

After catching 11 touchdowns in 2020 and making a huge impact for the Packers, it would be a huge surprise if they don’t bring him back next season. But they have a few options when it comes to free agency.

Assuming the Packers decide to use one of the restricted free agent tenders to bring back Tonyan, they will have the choice of three. The cheapest is the right of first refusal tender, the most expensive the first-round tender. The other option is a second-round tender.

We now know how much each will cost. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the first-round tender will cost $4.77 million in 2021, the second-round tender is set at $3.38 million, and the right of first refusal tender is $2.13 million.

So, what does this all mean?

Well, if the Packers choose to use one of those tenders, that would be Tonyan’s cap hit in 2021. But it’s not that simple.

As a restricted free agent, other teams can negotiate a deal with Tonyan. If both Tonyan and another team sign an offer sheet, the Packers would have to match those terms in order to keep Tonyan for next season. If they choose not to match the offer made by the other team, he’d sign with them.

That’s why it’s important to make the right choice. If the Packers use the right of first refusal, the benefit is that the cap hit is lower. However, if another team signs Tonyan to an offer sheet and he signs it, and the Packers can’t afford to match it, they’d lose him for nothing.

If they use the first-round tender, another team signs an offer sheet and the Packers can’t match, they’d bring back a first-round pick as compensation.

Either way, Green Bay will have an opportunity to keep Tonyan for 2021, even if another team signs an offer sheet. But deciding which tender to use will be the key question for GM Brian Gutekunst to answer.