2 years ago
  • An exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) is any NFL veteran [who reaches the end of his contract] with less than three accrued seasons. A rookie (first year player), second, and third year player each fall into this category.
  • A player with exclusive rights status may only sign a contract with their original team, if the original team placed the minimum salary tender, typically during the first days following the completion of the Super Bowl through the start of the new league year (mid-March).
  • Any player who receives a team’s exclusive rights minimum salary tender will not be able to negotiate with another team, and the player must only re-sign with his original team.
  • If the minimum salary tender is not given or the tender has been withdrawn by the original team to a player with less than three accrued seasons, that player will then be completely free to sign with any team without any penalty or any restrictions.[/list]

  • A restricted free agent (RFA) is any NFL veteran [that reaches the end of his contract] with three accrued seasons but not four accrued seasons of service. (Under certain restrictions, any NFL player with three accrued seasons shall be free to negotiate and sign a contract with any other NFL club).
  • The RFA has a signing window of roughly one month—typically between mid-March, when free agency starts, and mid-April. The signing period must last a minimum of thirty-five days and cannot end later than five days before the annual NFL Draft.
  • If a RFA player is tendered a Qualifying Offer, his original team has a right of first refusal and may receive a draft selection as compensation if the player signs a contract with a new team.[/list]

  • The original team can give a player one of four Qualifying tenders: Restricted Free Agent (RFA) Tenders
  • (a) ​right of first refusal only, or
  • (b)​ right of first refusal + draft selection at the player’s original draft round, (e.g. rounds three through seven) or
  • (c) ​right of first refusal + one second-round draft selection or
  • (d) ​right of first refusal + one first-round draft selection.[/list]

  • An unrestricted free agent (UFA) is any NFL veteran [that reaches the end of his contract] with four or more accrued seasons of service.
  • [*]An unrestricted free agent will be completely free to sign with another team, unless they were given the one-year franchise/transition tag by their team.[/list]
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