In addition to placing the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took care of one other piece of free agency business on Tuesday. The Buccaneers have extended tender offers to four exclusive rights free agents: tight end Tanner Hudson, defensive linemen Jeremiah Ledbetter and Patrick O'Connor and long-snapper Zach Triner.
Exclusive rights free agents are players with expiring contracts who have accrued two or fewer seasons of free agency credit. If they do not receive a qualifying offer, they essentially become unrestricted free agents who can sign with any team. If they do receive a qualifying offer, they can only re-sign with their current team, and if they sign that one-year offer it becomes their contract for the upcoming season.
Triner and O'Connor both played in all 20 games of the 2020 season, including the postseason, and were key contributors on special teams. Triner handled all of the team's long-snapping duties on punts and placekicks. O'Connor played 77% of the team's special teams snaps and also saw occasional playing time on defense. He recorded his first career sack in a Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Hudson played in 11 regular-season games and all four postseason contests, catching three passes for 41 yards. He started the season on the practice squad but became the team's third tight end after both O.J. Howard and Antony Auclair landed on injured reserve. Ledbetter played in three regular-season games and also recorded the first full sack of his NFL career, his coming at Detroit in Week 16. He spent the first 12 weeks of the 2020 season on the Bucs' practice squad before being promoted to the active roster.
Hudson, Ledbetter, O'Connor and Triner were the Bucs' only candidates for exclusive rights tenders. The team also has two potential restricted free agents in linebacker Jack Cichy and guard Aaron Stinnie.