Free Agency Is Upon Us

10 03 2012

NFL free agency starts Tuesday March 13th at 4:00 p.m. Free agency is one of the most exciting periods of the NFL offseason because teams are able to add or subtract players to strengthen their perspective teams.

Players are divided into three categories during free agency:

Restricted Free Agent (RFA): A player who has accumulated three full seasons of playing time in the NFL and is still under contract to their individual teams. However, depending on the tender, tenders range from 1st to 7th round, dictates the availability and value of the player to their respective teams.

For example, a high level player will most likely receive a 1st round tender, so if a team wants to acquire said player, they must offer their 1st round draft pick in the upcoming draft to sign the player. The team who assigned the tender has the option to match the offer and if they do, they will be able to retain the player.

Mike Wallace, wide receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Ladarius Webb, corner for the Baltimore Ravens, have been popular choices for teams who want to gain a high-level corner or wide receiver for a 1st round draft choice. To some teams, players like Webb or Wallace that will provide instant, proven playmakers in the NFL are more valuable than the draft choice they might receive in the 1st round of the NFL draft.

Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA): A player who has accrued four full seasons of NFL play. UFA players are exactly that, unrestricted. They are able to sign with any team and have control of their destinies in that regard. Many players in the NFL covet being an UFA because they are able to sign lucrative contracts that will most likely be the biggest contract of their NFL careers.

Carl Nicks, guard for the New Orleans Saints, is a perfect example of why players covet the UFA designation. Nicks will likely become the highest paid interior offensive linemen in the NFL because he isn’t restricted to a predetermined value chart like a RFA player would be.

Finally you the franchise tag: Which is a mix of UFA and RFA depending on which type of franchise tag a team places on a free agent. There is an ‘exclusive’ and ‘non-exclusive’ franchise tag. Both must pay the player tagged the average of the top five salaries of the players specific position or 120 percent of the players previous contract, whichever is higher. The main difference is a ‘non-exclusive’ free agent can negotiate with other teams to gain a larger contract, but the original team can match the offer and retain the player. So the franchise tag is closely related to UFA and RFA rules and distinctions.

Here is a list of teams who used the franchise tag and the players they tagged courtesy of Yahoo! Sports:

Arizona Cardinals: Calais Campbell, defensive end
Atlanta Falcons: Brent Grimes, cornerback
Baltimore Ravens: Ray Rice, running back
Buffalo Bills: Not used
Carolina Panthers: Not used
Chicago Bears: Matt Forte, running back
Cincinnati Bengals: Mike Nugent, kicker
Cleveland Browns: Phil Dawson, kicker
Dallas Cowboys: Anthony Spencer, linebacker
Denver Broncos: Matt Prater, kicker
Detroit Lions: Cliff Avril, defensive end
Green Bay Packers: Not used
Houston Texans: Not used
Indianapolis Colts: Robert Mathis, defensive end
Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Scobee, kicker
Kansas City Chiefs: Dwayne Bowe, wide receiver
Miami Dolphins: Not used
Minnesota Vikings: Not used
New England Patriots: Wes Welker, wide receiver
New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees, quarterback
New York Giants: Steve Weatherford, punter
New York Jets: Not used
Oakland Raiders: Tyvon Branch, safety
Philadelphia Eagles: DeSean Jackson, wide receiver
Pittsburgh Steelers: Not used
San Diego Chargers: Not used
San Francisco 49ers: Dashon Goldson, safety
Seattle Seahawks: Not used
St. Louis Rams: Not used
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Connor Barth, kicker
Tennessee Titans: Michael Griffin, safety
Washington Redskins: Fred Davis, tight end

Finally, here is my mock draft which now includes the 2nd round. I am currently working on the 3rd round, so check back soon to see free agent signings and my 3rd round mock:

2012 NFL Mock Draft
1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck QB Stanford

2. Trade with St. Louis: Washington Redskins – Robert Griffin III QB Baylor

3. Minnesota Vikings – Matt Kalil OT USC

4. Cleveland Browns – Morris Claiborne CB LSU

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Trent Richardson RB Alabama

6. Trade with Washington:St. Louis Rams – Justin Blackmon WR Oklahoma St.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Michael Floyd WR Notre Dame

8. Miami Dolphins – Quinton Coples DE UNC

9. Carolina Panthers – Dontari Poe DT Memphis

10. Buffalo Bills – Melvin Ingram DE South Carolina

11. Kansas City Chiefs – Riley Reiff OT Iowa

12. Seattle Seahawks – Ryan Tannenhill QB Texas A&M

13. Arizona Cardinals – David Decastro G Stanford

14. Dallas Cowboys – Janoris Jenkins North Alabama

15. Philadelphia Eagles – Luke Kuelchy ILB Boston College

16. New York Jets – Mark Barron S Alabama

17. Cincinnati Bengals – Dre Kirkpatrick CB Alabama

18. San Diego Chargers – Courtney Upshaw OLB Alabama

19. Chicago Bears – Jonathan Martin OT Stanford

20. Tennessee Titans – Kendall Wright WR Baylor

21. Cincinnati Bengals – Lamar Miller RB Miami

22. Cleveland Browns – Nick Perry DE USC

23. Detroit Lions – Stephen Gilmore CB South Carolina

24. Pittsburgh Steelers – Mike Adams OT Ohio St.

25. Denver Broncos – Fletcher Cox DE Miss. St.

26. Houston Texans – Peter Konz C Wisconsin

27. New England Patriots – Whitney Mercilus DE/OLB Illinois

28. Green Bay Packers – Devon Still DT Penn St.

29. Baltimore Ravens – Cordy Glenn OT/G Georgia

30. San Francisco 49ers – Stephen Hill WR Georgia Tech

31. New England Patriots – Alshon Jeffery WR South Carolina

32. New York Giants – Coby Fleener Stanford

Round 2

St. Louis Rams – Bobby Massie OT Ole Miss

34. Indianapolis Colts – Alameda Ta’amu DT Washington

35. Minnesota Vikings – Chase Minnifield CB Virginia

36. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mohamed Sanu WR Rutgers

37. Cleveland Browns – David Wilson RB Virginia Tech

38. Jacksonville Jaguars – Brandon Thompson DT Clemson

39. Trade: St. Louis Rams – Rueben Randle WR LSU

40. Carolina Panthers – Alfonzo Dennard CB Nebraska

41. Buffalo Bills – Brandon Weeden QB Oklahoma St.

42. Miami Dolphins – Kendall Reyes DT UCONN

43. Seattle Seahawks – Chandler Jones DE Syracuse

Kansas City Chiefs – Vinny Curry OLB Marshall

45. Dallas Cowboys – Kelechi Osemele OG/T Iowa St.

46. Philadelphia Eagles – Kevin Zeitler G Wisconsin

47. New York Jets – Andre Branch DE Clemson

48. New England Patriots – Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina

49. San Diego Chargers – Dont’a Hightower ILB Alabama

50. Chicago Bears – Dwayne Allen TE Clemson

51. Philadelphia Eagles – Zach Brown OLB UNC

52. Tennessee Titans – Lavonte David Nebraska

53. Cincinnati Bengals – Harrison Smith S Notre Dame

54. Detroit Lions – Ben Jones C Georgia

55. Atlanta Falcons – David Wilson RB Boise St.

56. Pittsburgh Steelers – Jamell Fleming CB Oklahoma

57. Denver Broncos – Trumaine Johnson CB/S Montana

58. Houston Texans – Nick Toon WR Wisconsin

59. New Orleans Saints (Forfeited)

60. Green Bay Packers – Ronell Lewis DE Oklahoma

61. Baltimore Ravens – Marvin Jones WR Cal

62. San Francisco 49ers – Brandon Brooks G Miami

63. New England Patriots – Jared Crick DE/DT Nebraska

64. New York Giants – Jerel Worthy DT Michigan St.

 

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