Free agency opens one week from today
It is an interesting time in the NFL right now.
On February 20, owners approved the terms of a potential new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association. On March 5, the NFLPA sent out official ballots to every NFL player who paid dues in the 2019 season to cast their vote on a new CBA. At the time, the NFLPA set a deadline of Thursday, March 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET. It has now been extended to Saturday, March 14. Ratification requires a majority of its members.
All the while free agency has loomed.
During the period beginning at noon ET on March 16 and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. on March 18, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2019 player contracts. No prospective Unrestricted Free Agent is permitted to execute a contract with a new club until 4 p.m. on March 18.
NFL.com ranks the top 101 players in the 2020 free agency cycle.
Franchise tag deadline extended to Monday
With potential ramifications from the new CBA, the league extended the franchise tag deadline. The NFLPA and NFL Management Council agreed on the extension to 11:59:59 a.m. ET on Monday, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The deadline was set for Thursday at 4 p.m. ET after initially being pushed from March 10.
View the players set to become free agents when the new league year begins March 18.
J.C. Tretter elected NFLPA president; Michael Thomas VP
On Tuesday, the Board of Player Representatives elected Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter as the new President of the NFL Players Association. It is a two-year term that begins immediately.
"It's an honor to be in this position to lead our player membership," said Tretter, a seven-year NFL veteran. "This is what I'm passionate about, and I'm excited to fight to protect and advance the rights of all players, past, present and future."
Additionally, four new players were voted by the board to serve two-year terms on the Executive Committee: Alex Mack (treasurer), Calais Campbell, Malcolm Jenkins and Wesley Woodyard.
They will join returning Executive Committee members Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, Thomas Morstead, Richard Sherman, Benjamin Watson, and the Giants' Michael Thomas, who was a finalist in the President vote. Thomas is set to become a free agent.
NFLPA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
- JC Tretter, President
- Alex Mack, Treasurer
- Sam Acho, Vice President
- Lorenzo Alexander, Vice President
- Calais Campbell, Vice President
- Malcolm Jenkins, Vice President
- Thomas Morstead, Vice President
- Richard Sherman, Vice President
- Michael Thomas, Vice President
- Benjamin Watson, Vice President
- Wesley Woodyard, Vice President
Frequently asked questions about free agency
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 difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?
A. In the 2020 league year, players with three accrued seasons who have received a qualifying offer become restricted free agents when their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2019 league year. Unrestricted free agents have completed four or more accrued seasons. Upon expiration of his 2019 contract, 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, reserve/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.
Q. How do the free agency rules apply to restricted free agents?
A. If a player with three accrued seasons 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. 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 by the deadline, the player's negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club. In addition, prior to the start of free agency a player who would otherwise be a restricted free agent may be designated by his old club as its franchise player or transition player.
Q. What determines an unrestricted free agent?
A. A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired.
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; 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 a non-exclusive franchise 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 unrestricted free agents.
Q. Can a club decide to withdraw its franchise or transition designation 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 if the tender is withdrawn after the start of the 2020 league year, or when his 2019 contract expires if the tender is withdrawn before the start of the 2020 league year.
Giants awarded 3 compensatory NFL Draft picks
A total of 32 compensatory choices in the 2020 NFL Draft have been awarded to 15 teams, including the Giants, who added one pick in the third round (99th overall) and two in the seventh round (247th and 255th).
Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents ("CFA") than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.
The compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.
Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula. No club may receive more than four compensatory picks in any one year. If a club qualifies for more than four compensatory picks after offsetting each CFA lost by each CFA gained of an equal or higher value, the four highest remaining selections will be awarded to the club.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the number of compensatory selections to the number of clubs then in the League (32). This year, one club, the New York Giants, qualified for a compensatory selection under the net loss formula but will not receive that pick because the final numerical value of the CFA who was lost ranked 33rd among the final numerical values of all compensatory selections. The New York Giants will receive compensatory selections for other CFAs lost whose final numerical values ranked within the top 32.
The compensatory free agents lost and gained in 2019 by the Giants:
Lost: Brown, Jamon; Collins, Landon; Edwards, Mario; Mauro, Josh; Webb, B.W.; Wynn, Kerry
Gained: Golden, Markus; Tate, Golden
The Giants were one of six teams (Denver, Houston, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Seattle) awarded three compensatory draft picks. New England had the most in the league with four picks.
We take a look at past compensatory draft picks by the New York Giants.