NFL Free Agents
NFL free agents are players who are not under contract with their current team or any other team, and undrafted free agents therefore they can negotiate and sign a contract with any of the
32 NFL teams.
Undrafted free agents are college football players who are pass over during a seven round NFL draft, without being selected by any of the 32 NFL teams will become unrestricted free agents.
NFL free agency signing period begins at 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time on Friday, March 5 any given year.
There are two categories of free agency, restricted and unrestricted. Also, a team has the right to tag a player as a franchise or transition player, which in term put certain restriction on the players ability to negotiate a new contract.
I remember before 1989 there was no free agency for NFL Players. The only time players would change teams was a trade and if a player was cut by his former team. A trade is when two teams exchange players, one team exchange a player for drafts picks or cash.
Free agency in the NFL began with a limited free agency system known as "Plan B Free Agency", that began in the National Football League in February of 1989.
Plan B free agency gave all teams in the NFL the right to protect 37 players a season.
If a NFL players was a protected Plan B free agent, he could not sign with another team without given his old team an opportunity to sign him again.
The rest of the NFL players who were left unprotected became NFL free agents and could sign with any team in the league. This was a exciting time for me because I was switching from listening to music to talk radio.
Just about that time two sports talk station were starting up and me being a avid sports fan was excited about the sport talk radio station. I couldn't wait to get into my van to listen to which players had sign with others NFL teams.
In 1992, eight players sued the NFL in U.S. federal court, stating that Plan B was a unlawful restraint of trade. A juryfound that Plan B violated antitrust laws and awarded damages to the NFL players.
Beginning with the 1993 season, Free agency as we know it now came into effect. NFL free agency is like a extended season of the NFL.
I am always exited about what my team the Atlanta Falcons can do to improve their team and watch other teams pick up players to better their team.
Its just fun being a fan and coming up with potential players for your team to pick up and even more fun when you the fan and team agrees on the NFL free agents picked up.
Restricted Free Agency starts March 5 and ends April 15.
A player who has played 3 years in the league are eligible for restricted free agency, whereby his current team has the chance to retain rights to this player by matching a offer or the highest offer that any other NFL team might make to that NFL free agent.
The team can either block or force a trade by offering a salary over a certain amount of years.
Unrestricted free agency starts March 5 and ends July 22
(or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).
A player who has played 4 years or more in the league are eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in which his team has no guaranteed rights to match offers from other teams.
This means that this NFL free agent has unlimited rights to negotiate and sign with any team.
Franchise players start March 5 through the 10th week of the season.
The franchise tag is a designation given to a player by his current team that guarantees that player contract will average the top 5 highest paid player at his position in the entire league or 120% of the player previous year's salary (whichever is greater). In return for retaining the rights to that player for one year.
A transition tag is a designation used by National Football League teams to retain unrestricted free agents. This guarantees the original team the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may get from another team.
Winning Formula for signing Free Agents
Winning franchises will go out and sign free agents who can help the team for three years.
If they can get more years of production from the NFL free agents they signed, the more, the merrier. Successful general managers will not sign high salary players unless they are 1 or 2 players away from winning a championship.