Although it was mostly a formality, the Green Bay Packers will keep their safety room intact for next season after Chris Banjo signed his exclusive-rights tender with the club on Friday.
Because Banjo has less than three accrued NFL seasons, his rights became exclusive to the Packers once they tendered him a contract on the eve of free agency last month. His signing makes sense with the offseason program set to begin Monday.
The Packers are only obligated to give Banjo a one-year contract for the league minimum, which is $585,000 for a second-year player. The 5-foot-10, 207-pound safety would only make that money if he makes the 53-man roster.
Banjo, 25, has been with the Packers in some capacity since signing with the team at the start of training camp in 2013. He earned a spot on the opening roster and played in all 16 regular-season games in 2013, registering 19 tackles and two pass deflections.
After ranking second in special-teams tackles as a rookie, Banjo was among the team's final cuts last summer. He returned to the Packers as a veteran exemption on their practice squad for the first 14 weeks of the year.
In need of an extra player on special teams, Banjo was promoted to the active roster in Week 15 against Buffalo after linebacker Jamari Lattimore was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury. He recorded one tackle in the Packers' last three regular-season games.
Banjo will again compete for playing time at a crowded safety position, especially after the Packers matched the Oakland Raiders' offer sheet on Monday for backup safety Sean Richardson, whose one-year, $2.55 million is almost completely guaranteed. Third-year defensive back Micah Hyde is familiar with the position, as well.
The Packers are lacking experienced special-teams players, though. They didn't tender contracts to receiver Jarrett Boykin or returner DuJuan Harris. Along with allowing Lattimore to walk in free agency, they already released Brad Jones, Brandon Bostick and Kevin Dorsey this offseason.
Cornerback Jarrett Bush and quarterback Matt Flynn are the Packers' only unsigned free agents.
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