Exclusive rights free agents (ERFAs) are players who are not under contract but only have two years of NFL experience and were on an NFL roster (or reserve list) at the end of their second season. This will either be an undrafted free agent or a draft pick who has been cut at least once. In practice, the team has to tender a one year minimum salary contract before the first day of the league year following the expiration of their contract, which doesn’t always get signed by the player immediately. If the tender is not made, or later withdrawn, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent, but the player cannot sign with another team while the tender is in place.
The Jets had three ERFAs listed for 2015:
TE Konrad Reuland – who was the third tight end most of the year and contributed on special teams. He caught one pass and ended up on injured reserve with a knee injury.
WR Vidal Hazelton – who was making a push for a roster spot in training camp, only to suffer a torn ACL in camp.
RB John Griffin – who was also making a push for a roster spot having been active for the last game of the 2012 season, but suffered a season ending foot/ankle injury in the first preseason game.
It’s doesn’t appear to have been reported anywhere yet, but the Jets did not extend an ERFA tender to any of these three players so they are all now free to talk to other teams.
Bent, TheJetsBlog.comIt’s not certain that none of these three will be back, but it does seem unlikely because the Jets controlled their rights and had the opportunity to retain any of them for a minimum salary. For Reuland, this is perhaps not surprising because there was some talk he was about to be released anyway before suffering his injury. However, with Hazelton and Griffin flashing last year in camp, it’s perhaps mildly surprising that they wouldn’t take the opportunity to retain either of these guys at the minimum and throw them into the mix again.
Last year, the Jets brought back three of their four ERFAs with the only one not extended a tender offer being tight end Derrick Epps – who, like Reuland, was reportedly about to be cut anyway when he suffered his season ending injury. Two of the three others (cornerbacks Darrin Walls and Isaiah Trufant) made contributions during the regular season, but the third (wide receiver Jordan White) was an early camp cut.