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It is almost here: free agency FAQ

We're almost there, ladies and gentlemen.

NFL free agency for 2014 kicks off Saturday at noon. when all clubs are finally (and legally without worry of tampering charges) allowed to speak to all free agents.

Although teams cannot sign any players until Tuesday, March 11 at 4 p.m., they are free to engage in negotiations for those players.

Those are a couple of basics. Here are other frequently asked questions and their answers about NFL free agency, right from the NFL office:

Q.  What is permitted during the three-day negotiating period prior to the start of free agency?

A.  Beginning at 12:00 noon ET on Saturday, March 8 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 11, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2013 player contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.  However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

During this negotiation period, a prospective unrestricted free agent cannot visit a club (other than the player’s current club) at its permanent facility or at any other location, and no direct contact is permitted between the player and any employee or representative of a club (other than the player’s current club).  If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.

(Salguero: Former University of Miami standout Jon Beason has basically hurt himself by choosing to represent himself. As he has no agent and cannot be contacted by teams until Tuesday, he looses the three-day negotiation advantage he would otherwise enjoy).

Clubs (other than the player’s current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective unrestricted free agent players, their certified agents, or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players’ 2013 Player Contracts at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

The three-day negotiating period applies only to potential unrestricted free agents; it does not apply to players who are potential Exclusive Rights Players or Restricted Free Agents, or to players who have been designated as Franchise Players or Transition Players.

Q.  What are the categories of free agency?

A.  Players are either “Restricted Free Agents” or “Unrestricted Free Agents.”  A Restricted Free Agent may be subject to a qualifying offer.  A Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agent may be designated by his prior club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player.

Q.  What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

A.  For Restricted Free Agents, from March 11 to May 2.  For Unrestricted Free Agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 11 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  For Franchise Players, from March 11 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 11.  For Transition Players, from March 11 until July 22.  If the above-listed players do not sign by November 11, they must sit out the season.

Q.  What is the difference between a Restricted Free Agent and an Unrestricted Free Agent?

AIn the 2014 League Year, players with three accrued seasons become Restricted Free Agents when their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2013 League Year.  Unrestricted Free Agents have completed four or more accrued seasons.  An Unrestricted Free Agent is free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.

Q.  What constitutes an “Accrued Season”?

A.  Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.

Q.  What could restrict the ability of a Restricted Free Agent to sign with a new club?

A.  If he has received a “qualifying offer” (a salary tender predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players) from his old club.  He can negotiate with any club through May 2.  If the Restricted Free Agent signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal”  on any offer sheet the player signs.  If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer.  If an offer sheet is not executed on or before May 2, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club.  In addition, a player who would otherwise be a Restricted Free Agent may be designated by his old club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player. No Restricted Free Agents were designated as Franchise or Transition players this year.

Q.  What determines an Unrestricted Free Agent?

A.  A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired.  He is free to sign with any club, with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).  At that point, his negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club if by June 1 the old club tendered the player a one-year contract for 110 percent of  his prior year’s salary.  His old club then has until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season (November 11) to sign him.  If he does not sign by that date, he must sit out the season.  If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season. 

Q.  What determines a Franchise Player?

A.  The salary offer by a player’s club determines what type of franchise player he is: exclusive or non-exclusive

An “exclusive” Franchise Player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year as of the end of the restricted free agent signing period on May 2; or (ii) the amount of the required tender for a non-exclusive franchise player, as explained below.

Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA sets forth the methodology, known as the “Cap Percentage Average,” for calculating the required tender for such a player:

The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years . . . ; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year . . . (the “Cap Percentage Average”) . . . ; or (B) 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater . . .

If a club extends a required tender to a “non-exclusive” Franchise Player pursuant to this section, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first-round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.

Q.  How many Franchise Players and Transition Players can a team designate each season?

A.  A club can designate one “Franchise” Player or one “Transition” Player among its potential restricted or unrestricte free agents.

Q.  Can a club decide to withdraw its Franchise or Transition designations on a player?

A.  Yes.  A club can withdraw its Franchise or Transition designation, and the player then automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent, either immediately or when his contract expires.

Q.  What is the salary cap for 2014?

A.  The salary cap is $133 million per club.

Q.  When must teams be in compliance with the cap?

A.  At the start of the 2014 League Year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 11.

Q.  If a team is under the salary cap at the end of a given season, can the team carry over room to the next season?

A.  Yes.  A team may “carry over” room from one League Year to the following League Year by submitting notice to the NFL prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on the day before the team’s final regular-season game indicating the maximum amount of room that the club wishes to carry over.

(Salguero: The Dolphins can carry over $18 million in cap space from 2013).

 Q.  What is the maximum amount of room that a club can carry over? 

A.  One hundred percent of its remaining room.


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Aaron Wilson ‏@RavensInsider 34s

Nothing new on Eugene Monroe for past several days, per sources, sides remain far apart, he'll go to free agency and see what's out there.

Aaron Wilson ‏@RavensInsider 25s

With the divide contractually and the money that other NFL teams are expected to pay for Eugene Monroe, unlikely he returns at this point

Armando, another great and timely piece of work. Thanks much.

The Carroll County Times reports free agent LT Eugene Monroe is seeking $10 million per year.
Per beat writer Matt Zenitz, the Ravens are offering Monroe $8 million to $9 million per year. So there's a decent-sized gap to be bridged before next Tuesday's start of free agency. GM Ozzie Newsome surrendered 2014 fourth- and fifth-round picks when he acquired Monroe via Jacksonville last October. If Monroe hits the market, the Dolphins are expected to pursue him aggressively.

Thanks for the text book wiki explanation Mando but after a few Yrs. on this blog can 100% guarantee every regular here knows the info. ou posted verbatim!

They should put a minimum salary spend so Ross is forced to get some talent on the friggin team!

My butts a little sore. I think I have a Harmeloid!

Very informative entry, Armando. Yes, now there will be fresh news and not the same continuous drivelish stuff that has been going on around here.

This guy reports news better than Schefter.

Aaron Wilson ‏@RavensInsider 21m
Nothing new on Eugene Monroe for past several days, per sources, sides remain far apart, he'll go to free agency and see what's out there.

Aaron Wilson ‏@RavensInsider 20m
With the divide contractually and the money that other NFL teams are expected to pay for Eugene Monroe, unlikely he returns at this point

Sup tex!

I thought their was no way in hell Baltimore would let Monroe go. Oh well, their loss our gain!

Jon Beason has basically hurt himself by choosing to represent himself EXCEPT for the fact he doesn't have to pay an agent.


I didn't think so either and was why I was always saying Miami should go after Albert. Of course they may just be waiting to see what FA offer Monroe gets and try to match.

Pretty weak class of FAs. Hopefully, the new guys draft well.

Pretty weak class of FAs. Hopefully, the new guys draft well.

Posted by: mike | March 07, 2014 at 02:12 PM

After 18 years Hickey got Tampa to 4-12.

thats all fine with Monroe, but do we really want to pay him as much or more than Jake Long? (recognizing Long's injury issues)



yeah, we were excited last year when we signed Ellerbe, that other ex-Raven....how did that turn out? Seems to me the Ravens/Newsome know more about these players than we do, and have a reason for letting them walk.

How Ozzie managed to get Monroe for a 4th and a 5th Rd picks I'll never know.

ok dubs, whatever.....again, Newsome didnt make the Ravens a SB winning team by being a dope.....and he's letting Monroe walk or test free agency at least....like he did with Ellerbe.....and our arms are open, like they were with Ellerbe....and 8-8.

Letting Jake Long go was a boneheaded move and allowed Incognito to go nuts.

According to Polian, never sign a FA Player that has been hurt often, no matter how good he might be. Like Brandon Albert.

what are some of your thots of picking up Vick to compete with Thill? i mean he has familiarity with the WC offense and Lazor so why not, right? Plus, adding him will hopefully light a match under Thill arse to smarten up. Hot topic right now is about fixing our OL but without a consistent QB ( taking us to the next level to compete amongst the elite teams) doesn't mean crapoli!! I mean Vick is still servicable and can mentor Thill at the same time, no? Plus Vick can show Thill how to throw a real long ball, and accurately i might add........ jus my two sense

agree oscar....same as my comment to dubs.....because newsome aint a dope (far from it)--which makes me wary about paying monroe 10 mill/yr

The only issue there Benz is that Newsome, from what was reported, fully expected Ellerbe to be his starting LB..
The Ravens also are trying to get him for 8-9 million whats another 1-2 million between friends..

Vick would be a huge upgrade at QB.


I dont think we had a choice with Long last year.He took the same amount of money to play somewhere else and you cannot discount his injuries. We need an LT and unfortunately they cost good money. We need to protect Tanny and with protection and some good weapons, we can really find out if he is our QB of the future or not. Besides its not our money and we have cap space


Newsome might not have a choice. They dont have as much cap space and have alot of holes to fill.Although trading to mid round picks for a half year rental is a kind of a dopey move

maybe matty....but again, cant imagine an obviously sharp/saavy GM like newsome wasnt aware of "what was being reported", what was possible....to me, the only conclusion is that newsome had some dollar value tied to ellerbe and wasnt willing to go above it (you know, what real GMs do).....meaning he didnt think enough of ellerbe compared to his asking price, and was willing to let him walk (I dont buy that newsome was totally shocked when ellerbe bolted)--newsome keeps stud/invaluable players...

So, if we go by Newsome's estimate and intercorrelating the values of a 4th+a 5th Rd pick, then Monroe, in Ozzies, eyes has the value of a 2nd Rd pick.


only for the right price i forgot to mention. Doesn't make any sense to pay him more than what he is worth seeing he is on the decline......we think?

Been watching Vick here in Philly the past few years and NO THANKS.

This is no longer the 25-year-old Vick but a guy nearing the end of his career. He's nowhere near as fast and elusive as he once was and can be unbelievably sloppy with ball control at times. He was getting sacked and turning the ball over a LOT when the Eagles finally benched him.

Gotta stop living in the past. Vick is yesterday's news.

newsome keeps stud/invaluable players...

Posted by: benz | March 07, 2014 at 02:32 PM

thats the opposite of the dullfins who get rid of their best players every year.

OR, and somewhat likely.....the Fins (and Cards, etc) are again getting used by Monroe and his agent, to see if they can squeeze another mill or so from the Ravens.....a better team/organization, always contending, that monroe probably would prefer to stay with anyway

Hard to fathom Miami has $35 Million in space after signing Grimes & can have $40 million if they cut Patterson which I feel they should do. Those young CB's need to see the field.

Aponte has been masterful with contracts & carrying over cap space every year continues to inflate how much space we have.

With that said, I am all for paying Monroe. It's a desperate need & you can't rely on a rookie OT to keep Tanny upright. It's a do or die year & in a weak FA class, Monroe is the best available. He's younger than Long & doesn't have his injury history. This is the guy you should overpay for.

While they're at it, they need to overpay for a relaiable RT. Start Garner at 1 guard & try to draft another than they can plug in right away. There's your starting 5. Monroe, Garner, Pouncey, Rookie, FA RT.

Find an adequate Safety to replace Clemmons & resign Starks or Soliai, whoever will take less.

I agree with you Benz to an extent, the only other issue is that they tied their hands with the Flacco contract.. He also traded away Boldin who was one of the reasons they made their Super Bowl run.. So I agree he prob knew but to an extent i think his hands were tied.
The good thing is Dawn structures contracts so that the big ones dont hurt as much down the road

Ellerbe was going to be the Ravens MLB last year. He wasn't. That's the mind of a brilliant talent evaluator.

we need to add another QB in the picture and i would feel more comfortable getting Vick's service's over some no name rook who's never hutted a professional football. Heck, we have nothing to lose anyway! We can always cut him loose rather than looking like a fool drafting a rook with no experience.

I'm just throwing out crap for conversation....because I do think those are valid points, and I am wary of giving Monroe 10mill/yr +/-.....but, ultimately would if thats what it takes...

and wasting a draft pick too i might add........

you think Tannehill turns the ball over.... bring Vick in he will show Tannehill how to really turn the ball over..
Lazor who groomed Foles should be able to develope Tannehill.. they say Foles physical tools are no where near as good as his.. if thats true.. sounds like we had some shady coaching

Mike Vick to Mike Wallace? Sounds good to me.

Karlos Dansby was a 1st Rd talent, so was JLong in his prime. Which Player on the Dolpins now is worthy of the label 1st Rd talent except for Grimes?

whats with the Vick talk?--Moore is signed for another year or two.....Devlin is a non factor in the big picture....I'd definitely draft a QB in Rd 3 or 4 and let him compete with Devlin....and a QB drafted there could/should be good enough to be our #2 in 1-2 yrs....and best case he pushes TH--havent heard anybody say Devlin has that kind of upside

Really need to get Monroe or Albert and be ready to grab Veldeer or Collins if we miss on one of those.
Should have a visit scheduled already.

It's not my money. Spend it Stephen. I'll buy some more of those expensive tix if we will actually play some decent football. We have no chance of that without an o-line.

Nothing to lose by trying Vick for 4 games. He's a talent.

benz, he did sign Joe Flacco to that deal so tehre's that.

$39M cap hit in 2016!!!

I think it's pretty clear Miami needs one of the top 3 FA LT's out there. It seems Monroe would be more the athletic fit Philbin wants although he did want Albert last year. The Raiders guys seems pretty lean as well although at 6' 8" it's hard not to be. I am all for spending on the OL and ILB. I say let Starks and Solai go! Our middle D was terrible and it started with them. I would NOT pay a DT the money Starks and Solai want. If they were a 3-4 NT then you might have to as they are tougher to find but a 4-3 DT - no way! Spend the money on OL, ILB, and anything left I get a ball hawking safety. I'd draft DT's and maybe bring back a McDaniel.

Benz, I get where you are coming from about paying free agents. It is the 2nd year in a row we are going to have to do it because of a position being an EXTREME weakness.

In 2013 free agency WR was weak, so we had to pay a 9-10 mil WR Wallace 12 mil.

Now, O-line is such a mess that we are going to have to pay an 8 million left tackle 10 million or so.

Ireland had his good and bad and this is definitely part of the bad. Luckily Dawn has given us 35 mil to spend and Ross is willing to spend it. I have criticized both of them, so I will give them credit.

We should try to avoid overpaying, but I don't see another choice. The O-line is awful and we need to spend some dollars on it.

Here is where having a good draft would help us avoid overpaying. Say Martin stepped up last year and was a good left tackle. We would have him on the cheap for 2 years and could spend elsewhere, or only have to worry about bringing in tier 2 (cheaper) free agents on the O-line. Instead we all know what happened.

So yes I do agree with you that overpaying is bad, but having a terrible O-line again next season would be worse. The good news is biting the bullet and paying up won't hurt us too much thanks to being way under the salary cap.

benz, Newsome is a great GM, but I think the Flacco contract is holding him back a bit.

They are losing their LT and RT at this point. They aren't sad about Oher at all, but they want to keep Monroe. He has a good amount of holes to fill and limited room to work.

yeah right to vick...gimme a break. hoping he goes to the jets so we can pile drive his ass twice a year.

anyways. J FYI, I like your moves, except, I like Pouncey @ LG & Garner (or anyone) @ C. Overpay (whatever) for Monroe, BPA @ #19, see what happens with Dallas Thomas & Talyor/Davis.

Mock draft of the day ...



1. Albert or Monroe OT
2. Jarius Byrd Safety


1. Aaron Donald DT
2. Zack Martin LG (Feel LG is where he'll be drafted)
3. David Yankey RG
4. Marion Grice RB AZ St(Best hands in this class)
5. Derrick Hopkins DT Va Tech(Rotational DT)
6. Aaron Murray QB
7. WR/Kick Returner

Marion Grice

Typically, running backs leading the country in scoring are no-nonsense bulldozing touchdown-scoring vultures.

Arizona State's Marion Grice, whose 13.5 points per game is nearly two full points more than his closest competitor is that and more, making the 6-0, 207-pound senior an intriguing prospect for NFL scouts.

With 18 touchdowns scored over the first eight games of the 2013 season, Grice has emerged as a legitimate star at the collegiate level and potentially one of the top senior running backs in the 2014 draft class.

Grice possesses a relatively long, lean frame for the running back position. His stature leads to a somewhat upright running style that, frankly, isn't conducive to what one might normally associate with a redzone scoring threat. While his natural leverage isn't ideal, Grice attacks holes when they are there, showing good downhill burst, the vision to set up blocks and the ability to spin off would-be tacklers to generate yardage (and scores) after contact.

What makes Grice special - and a potentially very intriguing prospect for the NFL - is his ability to catch the ball.

The Sun Devils use Grice in a variety of ways. Rather than just line him up in the traditional I-formation and pound way, Grice is often released on quick passes and even split out wide as a receiver. There, his soft hands and unique body control for the position is displayed.

Grice is a natural receiver, showing the ability to quickly pluck the ball outside of his frame, corral it and make the first defender miss in one, fluid motion.

Grice's ability on third down isn't limited to his ability to catch the football. Grice is an alert and active pass blocker, who locates would-be sack artists quickly and is willing to give himself up to help his quarterback, junior Taylor Kelly, find other options downfield.

Grice's lean build and lack of elite straight-line speed isn't what NFL scouts are looking for in a traditional bell-cow running back. However, his ability to help on all downs - especially on third down - could help him earn one of the top grades among seniors at the position and potentially emerge as a versatile and very valuable component to an NFL offense in the not-too-distant future.

the more my paranoia works the more my brain tells me Lazor has the inside scoop on Phillys desire for Dion Jordan, and infact maybe there ARE trade possibilities...

we certainly need OLine more than DEs at this point. maybe a 1-4-1 player trade and a trade down potential?

I think (against everything espn tells you), eagles wanted him @ #3 last year!

It will take 3-4 years to fix Irelands mess. And thats if Ross is willing to spend more money.

USA Today's Tom Pelissero has heard free agent TE Dustin Keller (knee) is "on track to return. From rotoworld.

I would look into it if the medical checks out at the right price. Maybe put some playing time incentives in there.

Maybe he will give us a small discount on a prove it deal, but who knows if he ever fully recovers or Hickey thinks he is the right fit now that Clay has emerged.


Clay had 1 good game. And Keller aint coming back Tannehill nearly got him killed!

for the chemistry they had, if he can run, he is worth it. best thing about the injury is that it was in preseason, but it was terrible. fins need more than clay.

Resigning Keller would be a gamble, but it could payoff. Regardless of troll input...


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