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The Reason Green Bay Did Not Tender Herb Waters as an ERFA

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The Reason Green Bay Did Not Tender Herb Waters as an ERFA

The Packers extended ERFA tenders to Allison, Donatello Brown, Callahan, Michael Clark, Kerridge, McCray, Pankey, Patrick, and Whitehead just before the start of the league year, but one name, Herb Waters, was conspicuously absent.  The reason Green Bay did that, unsurprisingly, is money and also because they could.  Green Bay also did not send a tender to LS Taylor Peppers, but it appears they simply do not want him.
Under the CBA teams can indeed sign a player for less than the NFL rookie minimum of $480K if they are not on an Active/Inactive list when signed.  Since Waters was still technically under contract while he was on the IR list, Green Bay had to wait until the first day of the new league year when his status changed to being a Free Agent to sign Waters.  Under those circumstances, Article 26 of the CBA allows Green Bay to sign Waters for $363K, and I am sure that is just what they did.
Why did Green Bay single out Waters?  The answer is leverage.  When a team does not send an ERFA tender to a player, the team loses its exclusive control over that player, who immediately becomes an UFA.  Green Bay therefore tendered those ERFAs they feared were likely to garner interest from other teams.  Waters, on the other hand, is a conversion project coming off season-ending surgery, and he is 25 years old now.  He turns 26 next October.  The Green Bay coaching staff and Coach Whitt, in particular, are very high on Waters, so Waters probably would not be tempted to accept an offer from another team if he did receive one.  I am sure Waters also noticed that Green Bay needs help at CB.
Waters played for the then minimum salary under Article 26 of $348K in 2017. He was injured on the first day of training camp, so Green Bay put him on waivers with an injury designation and then placed him on IR list.  Since he needed season-ending surgery, an injury settlement made no difference.  NFL players on IR are allowed to rehab at home, but Waters elected to stay in Green Bay.  This allowed him to be around the team, and be in the DB’s room during the season.  
Waters is a good example of what I call “Cap Churn:” the mysterious decrease in cap space that occurs during the season.  I am sure that Green Bay expected Waters to cost their cap at most the Practice Squad minimum of $122,400 for 2017, yet the team took a $348K cap charge due to the IR rules.  LB David Talley, who was placed on the IR on September 2, was another player that ended up being a $348K cap charge, which also far exceeded what Green Bay probably expected.
I hope that Waters’ decision to stay in Green Bay last season and his return to health means he can help the Packers in 2018!
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (20) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Spock's picture

Thanks for the explanation, TGR. I knew there had to be a reason for not tendering with the Packers' minimal DB situation.

Since '61's picture

James - thanks for the information. I hoping to see Waters get more snaps during the 2018 season. I think he can help the Packers CB rotation. Thanks, Since '61

Johnblood27's picture

Since '61, you typed "think", might you have meant "pray"?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Thanks. Another poster referred to me a "Moldo" and later in his comment misspelled Bulaga. I noticed TK corrected the poster's spelling on Bulaga, but never wrote a word about Moldo!

Lare's picture

I doubt if the Packers expect Waters to produce much at CB this season, but if he makes the final roster he may be a valuable contributor on special teams.

Lots of turnover on the bottom of the roster, players need to be able to produce in multiple capacities.

4thand1's picture

We are overdue to hit on a CB, the odds have to be in our favor for one of our guys to produce.

ShanghaiKid's picture

I get your point but, unfortunaey I point you to Exhibit A: Cleveland Browns.

That’s a franchise long overdue to hit on a position group. If they haven’t found a QB yet, it looks grim to rely on pure statistical odds of finding a QB lol

flackcatcher's picture

All true, Cleveland signing Dorsey to run their front office with the talent he signed from the Packers front office, is the biggest hit the browns have had in over 20 years. For all the whining about TT, never forget he ran one of the best front offices in all of pro sports. Even with the lost of Wolf, etc. this group has hardly missed a beat. We Packer fans are so spoiled we forget about how the half lives.

croatpackfan's picture

"The Packers did not offer Waters a league-minimum exclusive-rights tender, but that apparently was a medical decision; they signed Waters on Thursday after checking out his injured shoulder."

This statement I found some time ago on:

And that statement looks more logical than saving few dollars on a guy. Especially on player for whom Joe Whitt said:
"He’s further along at this point than I thought he would be," Whitt said last June, after Waters hurt his shoulder the first time. "I hate that he got hurt; hopefully he’ll be ready for training camp. If he is, he’s going to give (all the other cornerbacks trouble). He has that ability in his body that, don’t be surprised, like I told you in ’09 about Tramon (Williams), I said that Tramon was the best cover guy that we had, I think you thought I was crazy at the time, but at the end of the year and going into ’10, he was. This kid has that type of ability. He does."

4thand1's picture

If he turns out to TW 2.0 of 2010 we are set.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Medical issues seem like a possible factor in GB's decision, and I considered adding it as a potential reason. While I could not rule it out, I found no evidence to support the idea. Though Tex Western in his brief description of a packernews article did write what you quoted, the packernews article itself does not state when the medical examination occurred, or indeed that any exam was done at all. January articles noted that Waters stayed in GB during the season, was still rehabbing, and expected to be ready for OTAs. Perhaps GB checked him over, IDK, but I can't find an article stating he passed his physical.

It may be that GB is so high on Waters that they were just waiting for the results of a medical exam and the team and its bean counters didn't care about the money. But $117K, the difference between $480K and $363K, is not chump change to Waters. If I were he, I would have made sure to be in GB on March 13 for an examination to secure the ERFA tender if that was the main obstacle. I suspect Waters had to have thought how nice it would have made $465K instead of $348K while he was on IR last year. That is human nature, though he might at the same time have been grateful and realized that $348K beats the $122K PS salary he otherwise would have gotten. And he can't help but know that should he sustain another season-ending injury, $480K is better than $363K, and that it might well be the last nickel he sees in his NFL career. I still think of him as really young, but he turns 26 in October.

I don't begrudge the $348K, and I wish Waters much success.

croatpackfan's picture

You are right. There is no other publication where you can find confirmation what Tex Western wrote. And that put this claim in little vague area.

Still, above Tex Western statement looks me more logical than just saving $100 K on the player they might just left on the market, if he is not so good as we assume after Joe Whitt's statement... If he is so good, why not try to secure him one day earlier?

But, you are right, and there is something odd with this signing. Maybe Herb Waters is not ready yet and team wants to give him opportunity, but they are not sure if he will heal completely, so to be able to perform on what is expected from him...

I did not want to opose what you wrote, just to mention another possibility, why that signing came late and it is odd...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Thanks, Croat. I actually kind of agonized over putting the medical exam in, googled all over and even went to individual sites to use their own search vehicles. I read their articles on Waters but really didn't find anything actually mentioning that he was examined, so that is why I answered at length.

We are of the same mind. I probably could have mentioned it and just have noted that I could find specifics on the exam part.

A Pickled Packer's picture

Nice info, but I noticed that Josh Hawkins wasn't mentioned in the signings. I hope that was an oversight, I'm really rootin for that little CB with the long arms.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Hawkins isn't an ERFA. He signed a 3-year deal in 2016 covering the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons. He would be an ERFA had he signed a 2-year deal based on accrued seasons, but to be an ERFA you have to be on an expiring contract.

The good news is he is under contract at $630K.

flackcatcher's picture

(SIGH) Hawkins must have a really good agent.......

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

LOL. Hawkins only got a $5,000 signing bonus, so he can be cut with just a $1,668 dead money tap. He would be an RFA in 2019, so 2 more years of control. He needs to play well to make the team; I think he has PS eligibility still (veteran exception), but I was surprised to see that he has played in 26 games over the last two seasons with 3 starts. I expect to see one or two FA CBs signed, and a couple three drafted, so he really needs to beat out some of the others, like Brown and/or Pipkens. Probably is on the bubble.

Bure9620's picture

Whitt claims Waters "covered everyone" can he be any worse than Rollins?

croatpackfan's picture

I smell your future comments after Rollins is released and blossoms in another team. Comments will surely be how you claimed that Rollins should be kept ... Something like today we read comments from fans about injury prone Hayward or the horrible slow Hyde ...

Ferrari Driver's picture

Excellent article and a thumbs up from me.

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