The Detroit Lions were poised to enter free agency with three players listed as exclusive rights free agents. On Wednesday, the Lions announced that they have tendered ERFA offers to all three players: Kerry Hyder, Brandon Copeland and TJ Jones.
This contract offer basically guarantees that all three players will start the 2017 season with the Detroit Lions. Players offered an ERFA tender have two choices: either sign the contract or sit out the 2017 season.
According to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett, the team has told each player that they can sign their tenders anytime. ESPN’s Michael Rothstein reported on Tuesday that Copeland had already signed his tender, worth $615,000 for one season.
Hyder played a huge part on defense last year, especially after Ezekiel Ansah suffered an early ankle injury. Hyder finished with a team-high eight sacks on the year and ended up playing the second-most snaps at the defensive end position.
Copeland offered the Lions versatility last season when Detroit suffered several injuries at the linebacker position. Though the Lions clearly prefer to have him at the defensive end position, he has plenty of experience as a linebacker in Detroit. Still, at this point in Copeland’s career, his biggest value is on special teams.
As for Jones, this may be his last opportunity to impress the Lions. The 2014 sixth-round draft pick only has 15 catches in three years and is starting to feel the heat from younger prospects like Jace Billingsley. Detroit is in need of a good slot receiver option with Anquan Boldin’s future currently unknown, but Jones will have to show major improvement to make a play for that position.