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Giants Now (3/16): Negotiating period begins today; everything you need to know about free agency

NOW-MARCH-16

Negotiating period begins; no contract can be executed until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET

Free agency is almost here.

During the period beginning today at noon ET 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 at 4 p.m. March 18.

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.

Which Giants are set to become free agents?

The following players are set to become unrestricted free agents:

  • DL Leonard Williams
  • LB Markus Golden
  • OT Mike Remmers
  • S Michael Thomas
  • WR Cody Latimer
  • WR Russell Shepard
  • LS Zak DeOssie
  • CB Antonio Hamilton
  • LB David Mayo (agreed to terms with Giants)
  • RB Javorius Allen
  • LB Deone Bucannon
  • WR Corey Coleman
  • WR Cody Core

Restricted free agents:

Exclusive rights free agents:

  • WR Amba Etta-Tawo

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.

View the players set to become free agents when the new league year begins March 18.

NFL players vote to ratify new collective bargaining agreement

With a deadline of Saturday night, the NFL players voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. Needing a simple majority, it passed by a vote of 1,019 to 959.

An independent auditor received submitted ballots through a secure electronic platform, then verified, tallied and certified the results.

The new CBA will run through the 2030 season. The 2020 salary cap has also been set $198.2 million per club.

Notable clauses:

  • League option to expand regular season to 17 games (3 preseason)
  • Expanded 14-team playoffs
  • Increased 48-man game day roster (must have 8 OL)
  • Increases minimum player salaries
  • Increased benefits for active & former players
  • Increased practice squads (size & eligibility)

Statement from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:

"We are pleased that the players have voted to ratify the proposed new CBA, which will provide substantial benefits to all current and retired players, increase jobs, ensure continued progress on player safety, and give our fans more and better football. We appreciate the tireless efforts of the members of the Management Council Executive Committee and the NFLPA leadership, both of whom devoted nearly a year to detailed, good faith negotiations to reach this comprehensive, transformative agreement."

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