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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.

Comments

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UM LT/RT SEANTREL HENDERSON IS THE TACKLE THAT I'M REFERRING TO.

\Newsome keeps good players, that is why he is trying to sign this guy...

but he can't doesn't have the cash..LOL

6 year 60 mil. will get it done..guarantee 30 mil

w/ $40MM in cap space, is $1MM really worth "kicking the tires" to get a known upgrade? we cant keep wasting some prime years with some pretty cheap talent (Wallace aside).

fins (JI) gambled, saved a bunch of money, and now its time to shell out to best available.

Posted by: DJ Baracus | March 07, 2014 at 03:15 PM


Chip Kelly definitely wanted Jordan..

Did you see how surprised and stunned Jordan was when Miami him picked him ahead of Philly?

Wish everyone would quit saying that the oline was decimated from bullygate. The team lost one good player (Richie) who they might not have resigned this year anyway. Martin and Jerry are both below average and can easily be replaced. Having said that, yes, the oline does need some upgrades, but bullygate is irrelevant at this point.

Miami will not mess around this year. Ireland and his way of thinking is gone.

Miami will pay Monroe and not loose out again this year on the long term LT answer.

hmmm. agree I think...it wasn't bullygate, it was lack of talent. again, failed gamble. at least it wasn't a bluff gamble. it was just cheap

(btw, I love how its "ross who is cheap"...no waY! totally jeffy who was cheap). hes gone & SR is happy to pay up. + why pay when RT clearly needed some developmental years. year-3 is the year to do damage.

yes, wallyfin, now is the time to strike, "pay that man his money" (or several). hopefully, we'll stay healthy.

KICKING THE TIRES OF A FORMER SUPER BOWL & PRO BOWL PLAYER IS WORTH IT. PAYING A LT $10M DOESN'T GUARANTEE YOU A SUPER BOWL APPEARANCE. THOSE TIRES THAT YOU'RE KICKING HAS A SUPER BOWL CREDENTIAL. E. MONROE BARELY UNDERSTANDS WHAT A WINNING TEAM IS ALL ABOUT. HE DIDN'T EVEN GAIN A PINCH OF SALT OF THE SUCCESS OF WINNING IN BALTIMORE. THEY DIDN'T EVEN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS LAST SEASON. WITH BRYANT MCKINNIE, HE UNDERSTANDS THE CHEMISTRY OF A SUCCESSFUL O-LINE, EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN HIS TRICK OF THE TRADE. HE CAME IN WITH THE DOLPHINS AFTER WEEK EIGHT, TRYING TO LEARN THE SYSTEM & SIGNAL CALLS. HIS PRESENCE HELPED US OUT ALONG THE WAY. THE SIGNAL CALL THAT I STATED WAS TO COMPETE FOR THE JOB. THAT WAY YOU HAVE A MENTOR ABOARD & A RELIABLE BACKUP PIECE ONBOARD. WE'RE PAYING QB MATT MOORE $5M JUST TO BACKUP & HE'S NEVER BEEN TO A SUPER BOWL. WHY NOT RESIGN MCKINNIE? & RELEASE QB MATT MOORE? HEAD COACH JOE PHILBIN LIKES BACKUP QB PAT DEVLIN ANYWAY. FOOD FOR THE THOUGHT.

I hear ya...I think mckinnie is down at the beach getting fat(ter) waiting until june to tell the dolphins that he is retiring. that's all.

its not worth being left out when the music stops when there is quality out there that is younger. id rather have the guy who replaced the guy who went to the super bowl.

he certainly helped keep RTs head on his body, but its time to kick ass and we need an athletic line.

Everybody knows that we need to sign at least 2 or 3 FAs for the OLine because no rookie OT or G is going to come here and start right away seeing how Philbin regards rookies starting.

Hope both Soliai and Starks are signed

The low down on McKinney is he is working out ferociously to get in better shape, he wants to come back to the phins. I think he was a good backup, better than Martin, we need LT or Oguards/tackels would try to get the raiders guy too with monroe or AB. Would like to see us land TATE (rb).

Dont know if anyone has mentioned him but the Dolphins should get Sproles as a stopgap for next season while they work everything out on offense with the new OC and the new lineman.

Hes not really a RB but more of a receiver who lines up in the backfield or the slot,and of course he is a returner.He is 30 but this is for 2014 and maybe a couple of other seasons where his compensation should be less to the team ala Grimes.

He made 3mil or so last season with the Saints and he helped NO crush the Dolphins.

With all the God Given talent he had as a young man, what did Vick ever do with it? He's now on the wrong side of 30 and injury prone. Let someone else have him.
QB is NOT our chief concern. Can't wait to see Tannehill do well so as to shut up the naysayers.
OL, an every down RB, better play against the run and a playmaking Safety would be at the top of my list.

I will Not surprised at all to see us sign several free agents the first 2 weeks, a LT for sure and maybe a safety and RB as well
Tate and Sproles are probably in the mix as RB's
also don't be surprised if we trade Jordan
We are deep in DE,s and he is a luxury that I agree can be traded for another first rounder from the Eagles.
with our Cap room we might just sign 4 or 5 FA players and thus open up the draft to get a DT and LB early and maybe a TE and WR in the middle rounds
The draft will depend on who we get in Free agency
Our new GM is out to prove something - he heard he was the 8th choice - he knows- he is already working very hard to get us the right players. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope Mando keeps us well informed as this FA, period starts as to who we are talking to.

Forget Vick
he is not coming to the Dolphins
Our GM has bigger problems to solve plus our Coach would not want Vick does not fit profile

Vicks a loser! We don't want an aging, low character, injury prone turnover machine at QB. Let's see what our new OC can do with RT.

Just a thought but Darren sproles, despite being 30, should be brought in. He makes every QB he has ever played with better. Draft a big bruising running back. Don't overpay in FA. Sproles can actually give MIA a threat out of the back field as give Tannehill a nice safety valve. I think he can be had cheaply enough too!

They will have to over pay for LT but can structure it that the first couple years is lowesr , say 7m. They have 36m , they can cut Patterson who did not play but 4 games, He can resign for incentives or be gone. That's 40 plus they restructure Wallace 17 m ( CRAZY HIGH CAP #) to closer to 8m. That's 42 M after they sign Monroe for 60M.
$4m for draft picks. Then they can target a starting guard-5m, and ILB-6m, S-8m,HB-4m, FB-4m ( Should have signed leach), That's 31M of 43. That gets Start at LT, Bryd at SS a Star. With #1 you get NT, #2 OL, #3, #4 best player available.They can get anothet NT in FA or bring along young guys on roster. Pleu of I recall they signed a vet last year to two year deal. If Lamar Miller, Dion Jordan, Dion Simms, Taylor, Davis ,and a couple other guys with talent step up they shuld be solid. OL and Running game will make TAnny better, Upgrade in ILB , and Safety will make D better . Starks and Solial did not play up to their contracts last year go younger.

Theere are no elite LTs in the 2nd - 7th res. Remember JMart?

excellent post.

Reading on this rag that the Dolphins will let Starks and Solai go? Same Armando article mentions replacements. They are all big names, so they will want big $ too. Why pay the same for a stranger. Those 2 are rocjs on our line and I won't get into the "scheme" argument. I will argue Coyle has been an extreme under-performer for what used to be a top 5 run defense. Same players when Nolan was here! Coyle has been a disappointment his entire tenure with a steadily regressing statistical record. I really hate losing good vets/team-leaders because an under-performing coach sees them as non-contributors. I find it hard to believe that the new GM does not see the talent there. I tend to believe Coyle needs to lay blame for his poor performance to date.

In the paragraph on Jon Beason: "Loses," not "looses."

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