It was mostly a formality but the Detroit Lions announced that they have tendered contracts to three of their exclusive rights free agents.
All is mostly quiet on the Detroit Lions free agency front aside from some minor rumors and speculation, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t active. So far the only real news has been of the in-house variety, first with re-signing defensive tackle Khyri Thronton yesterday and tendering three of the team’s exclusive rights free agents.
"The Detroit Lions announced today that they have tendered the following exclusive rights free agents: DE Brandon Copeland, DE Kerry Hyder and WR TJ Jones."
Exclusive rights free agents are players who are not under contract for the following season but do not have enough years of service to qualify for restricted or unrestricted free agency. Players need three year of service to be classified as a restricted free agent and at least four years to become an unrestricted free agent.
These players have no bargaining power since their exclusive rights status keeps them tied to their original team and unable to seek a bigger deal elsewhere. Copeland, Hyder and Jones all found roles to varying degree with the Lions last season so it makes sense to retain them.
The tender also comes without guarantees, so there is no risk from the team’s end. That means exclusive rights free agents can later be dropped without any financial impact to the team.
Lions fans may remember that situation playing out recently with Jeremy Ross. He was initially retained as an exclusive rights free agent after the 2014 season but was later released.