The Denver Broncos have tendered four exclusive rights free agents on Thursday. Offensive lineman Elijah Wilkinson, special teams ace Joe Jones, safety Dymonte Thomas, and wide receiver Tim Patrick all received tendered deals. Linebacker Jerrol Garcia-Williams, who missed 2018 with a torn ACL, was not tendered.
Broncos tendered deals today to exclusive free agents Elijah Wilkinson, Joe Jones, Dymonte Thomas and Tim Patrick. Did not tender LB Jerrol-Garcia Williams, who missed all of last season with ACL injury. #9sports— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) March 7, 2019
Wilkinson, 24, was pressed into action last season playing 100% of the snaps between Weeks 6-12 at the right guard position. He was not flagged in those games and even had himself a fumble recovery. He could be in position for a larger role this season under new offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
Thomas, 25, and Jones, 25, were both heavily involved on special teams. Jones, especially, made a name for himself as an ace on that unit. If true, he could fill a role not seen in Denver since Keith Burns was a special teams ace from 1994-2006.
Patrick, 25, came on very strong late last season. After only grabbing four receptions through the first 12 games, Patrick burst onto the scene in the final four games averaging five receptions a game for 60 yards filling in the depth chart after Emmanuel Sanders went down with injury.
All four players gained valuable experience last season and could take solid steps forward under the new coaching staff this season.
An exclusive rights free agent, or ERFA, is a player that has accrued two or less seasons in the league. Teams have complete control over the player’s contract. It’s basically assured that the player will return to the team if the team wants them.
These are the players with 2 or less seasons in the league, a status reserved almost solely for undrafted rookie type players. Once tendered they can only negotiate with their former team. The tender offer is only a one year non-guaranteed contract at the minimum salary level so most teams would use the ERFA designation on players who were on the roster late in the prior year and signed to a 1 year deal. Usually these offers are signed as soon as they are made since nothing is gained by waiting.
As for Jerrol Garcia-Williams, 25, he will join tight ends Matt LaCosse and Brian Parker in free agency as neither had their tenders picked up by the Broncos.