As Free Agency season approaches, I thought I would do a PSA for the casual Saints/NFL fan that may find their way over to the board. Starting next week on March 12th, NFL teams can officially contact, negotiate with and sign free agents. Words like Restricted Free Agents (RFAs), Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and tender offers will be flying around. Here's a basic rundown on what those terms mean: Unrestricted Free Agents
An unrestricted free agent (UFA) is a tenured player that has four seasons or more of experience in the NFL and is not currently bound by any contract. An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club between March 12 and July 21 with no draft choice compensation owed to his old team. If he is not resigned by June 1st, his old team gains exclusive negotiating rights with the player. Restricted Free Agents
A restricted free agent (RFA) is a tenured player that has three seasons of experience in the NFL and whose contract has expired. A restricted free agent is free to negotiate with any team between March 12 and April 19. However, should an RFA reach an agreement with a new team, the old team has "first right of refusal" and can resign the player for that amount. Tender Offers
While a restricted free agent is free to negotiate with any other team, that player's original team may place a tender offer on the player.
It works like this- if RFA John Doe decides to test free agency and shop his value to other teams, Doe's team may place, say, a first round tender offer on the player. Doe and a new team agree to a one year deal for $2.4M. Doe's old team can either resign Doe for $2.4M or let him sign with his new team. If Doe's old team lets him go, Doe's new team has to give up their first round pick. Obviously, the more a team wants to retain an RFA, the higher the tender offer they place on the player.
If a player is offered with a first year tender, he will entitled to $2.879M in compensation. A second round tender offer is entitled to $2.023M in compensation. An original round tender (meaning the old team will receive a pick in the same round that the player was originally drafted) will net the player $1.323M in compensation.
Note: Undrafted restricted free agents may receive original round tenders. However, this only allows their current team to match an offer the tendered player signed with another team. The losing team, though given no compensation, is still given "first right of refusal" and is allowed to match any deal offered by a new team to their undrafted free agents. Image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-qJtlMWmRYC0/T3inM7rNOLI/AAAAAAAACVg/rbgk2yl0Cvs/s1600/the+more+you+know+psa+nostalgia+lol.gif
This post was edited on 3/5 at 9:48 am