Free Agent Definitions

TRANSITION PLAYER: Each team may name two Transition Players and that label must remain with them until their contracts expire or until they are released. They will be paid at least the average of the top ten highest paid players at his position. A Transition Player may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team declines to match the offer, no compensation will be awarded.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: Each team may name one Franchise Player and that label must remain with him until his contract expires or until he is released. He will be paid at least the average of the top five highest paid players at his position. He may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team declines to match the offer, compensation in the form of two first round draft picks in consecutive years will be awarded from the signing team.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENT (RFA): A player whose contract has expired and has fewer than four tenured years in the league. He may sign an "Offer Sheet" with any other team, but his original team has seven days to match any offer he receives. If the original team does not match the offer, compensation will be awarded in the form of draft picks from the signing team. The round and quantity of picks are determined by the "Qualifying Offer" made by the player's original team. If a RFA is tendered a minimum qualifying offer the compensation is the equivalent of the round in which that player was originally selected. If that player was originally a rookie free agent, no compensation is awarded.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT (UFA): A player whose contract has expired and has four or more tenured years in the league. He may sign with any other team with no restrictions. If a team loses more UFAs than it signs, they will be awarded "Compensatory Draft Picks" from the league. The value of the pick is determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and those acquired. If a team has signed an equal number or more UFAs than it has lost, no "Compensatory Picks" will be awarded.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT (ERFA): A player whose contract has expired and has three or fewer tenured years in the league. His original team must make a contract offer by the league imposed deadline or the player becomes an unrestricted free agent. No compensation is awarded for losing EFAs.

COMPENSATORY DRAFT PICKS: Compensation awarded by the league to teams who lost more UFAs than they signed. Compensation is in the form of extra draft picks added to the end of rounds three through seven. The quantity of picks is equivalent to the difference of UFAs signed to UFAs lost. For example, if a team loses 4 UFAs and signs 1 UFA, they will receive three Compensatory Selections. The value of the picks is determined by the difference of the contracts signed by the players lost and those acquired. The highest possible compensatory pick is the 31st of the third round (91st overall). If a team has signed an equal number or more UFAs than it lost, no "Compensatory Picks" are awarded.

OFFER SHEET: A contract offer from another team signed by a RFA, Transition Player, of Franchise Player. The player's original team has seven days to match the offer and retain the player.

QUALIFYING OFFER: An initial contract offer made to RFAs. This offer determines what type of compensation the player's original team receives if the RFA signs with another team. The original team is awarded draft choices from the signing team. The highest compensation is a package of 1st and 3rd round picks. Players tendered minimum offers carry compensation equivalent to the round in which they were originally drafted. For instance, a RFA was originally a 6th round pick, and is given a minimum tender "Qualifying Offer." If he signs an "Offer Sheet" with another team and the original team declines to match the offer, the original team will receive the signing team's 6th round pick. Players who were originally rookie free agents carry no compensation if a minimum qualifying offer is tendered.