FREE AGENCY SIGNING PERIOD BEGINS;
531 PLAYERS BECOME FREE AGENTS
The National Football League today announced that 531 players are free agents who now can negotiate with all 32 clubs.
Six players this year were designated by their clubs as "franchise" players. A franchise player is a special category for restricted and unrestricted free agents. The deadline for making these designations for 2010 was February 25.
There are two types of franchise players. Clubs retain exclusive negotiating rights to an "exclusive" franchise player by committing to a minimum offer of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of April 15, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, or the average of the top five salaries at his position as of the end of last season – whichever of the three is greater. Other clubs cannot negotiate with exclusive franchise players. Defensive end RICHARD SEYMOUR of the Oakland Raiders was the only player this year that was designated by his club as an exclusive franchise player.
The second type of franchise player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries of last season at his position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. This "non-exclusive" franchise player may negotiate with other clubs. His original club may match and retain the player, or receive two first-round draft choices as compensation if it decides not to match a new club’s offer.
Click here to view the entire NFL Press Release in a Google Doc (have to log into your gmail account if you have one- sorry if you don't), which also lists every NFL team's restricted and unrestricted free agents, a listing of 531 players that was just way too long to put in this type of post.