The Arizona Cardinals have extended exclusive rights offers to defensive linemen Olsen Pierre, running back Elijhaa Penny, offensive tackle John Wetzel, and cornerback C.J. Goodwin.
What does this mean?
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT (ERFA): A player whose contract has expired and has three or fewer tenured years in the league. His original team must make a contract offer by the league imposed deadline or the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. No compensation is awarded for losing EFAs.
The Cardinals had a number of players in this category but only chose to tender the four above, meaning other teams can pursue restricted free agents; Ifeanyi Momah, Xavier Williams and Vinston Painter, while their EFAs are that they didn’t tender include Ronald Zamort and Daniel Munyer.
Not tendering these players doesn’t guarantee the Cardinals lose them, but it does mean they can sign anywhere they have an opportunity to.
Pierre was originally an undrafted free agent out of Miami in 2015 who signed with the Chicago Bears. He was released during that preseason and the Cardinals added him to their practice squad the same year. Although he made the 2016 53-man roster, he was inactive that entire season. This actually worked out to his favor. He saw his first regular season action in 2017 and did not disappoint. He finished the season with 30 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. He is expected to have a bigger workload on defense in the upcoming season.
Penny made the team as their fourth string running back, after spending the entire 2016 season on the practice squad. He is another player that saw his first regular season action in 2017. He was a key special teams contributor for the Cardinals this past season, finishing with 31 carries for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Wetzel has been an important swing tackle for the Cardinals, since signing with the team in 2016. He has started in 19 out of 32 games in the past two seasons, playing tackle and guard in place of injured players. He continues to be an important piece to this offensive line, providing depth and versatility.
C.J. Goodwin was added late in the 2017 season, after being released by the Falcons, and so it isn’t really clear what his role on the team will be.