The San Francisco 49ers announced that defensive tackle Tony Jerod-Eddie signed his exclusive rights free agent tender. The team originally tendered him a month ago, and he is now signed through the 2015 season. Michael Wilhoite still has to sign his tender, but Matt Maiocco said he is already in town for the workout program, so there is no holdout concern.
The stages of free agency are unrestricted, restricted, and exclusive rights. A UFA can sign with anybody, with the only restrictions coming through the franchise and transition tags. A restricted free agent can sign anywhere, but if he is tendered, signing anywhere else will usually cost the other team a draft pick (except in case of "right of first refusal" tender, which is just getting the right to match with no compensation if declined). For an exclusive rights free agent, if the team tenders the player, that player can sign with no other team. That means the team usually tenders the player at the veteran minimum.
Jerod-Eddie comes to the offseason workout program with one of the bigger opportunities of his career. Justin Smith's future is still up in the air, and Darnell Dockett is coming off an ACL injury last year. Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial are the up-and-comers, but we still don't know how they factor into things long term. Jerod-Eddie has primarily been a reserve, but he also got some starting opportunities the last couple years as injuries and other issues have arisen. He has four starts in 32 games, including two last season.
On the one hand, that means he has some starting experience and knows what it takes. On the other hand, the team might decide they already know what his upside entails. Will Jerod-Eddie emerge as anything more than a quality reserve this year?