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NFL Free Agency Begins

2010 Free Agency Commenced at 12:01 AM

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.

2010 FRANCHISE PLAYER DESIGNATIONS

 **Team** Player  Position
 Green Bay  Ryan PIckett DT
 New England  Vince Wilfork DT
 Oakland Richard Seymour***  DE
 Pittsburgh Jeff Reed K
 San Francisco Aubrayo Franklin DT
 Seattle Olindo Mare K

* *exclusive franchise player

Each club is permitted one franchise designation in any year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. A franchise player may sign a multiyear contract with his current club until July 22. After July 22, any contract signed by a franchise player can only be for one year. If he does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season.

A club may designate a transition player in lieu of a franchise player in any year when the franchise designation is available. In the 2010 uncapped year, a club may also designate one additional transition player. A transition player must be offered a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of the prior season at the player's position or 120 percent of the player's prior year's salary, whichever is greater. A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his contract expires. If the club matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no draft pick compensation from that club. There are no transition player designations this year.

A club may withdraw a franchise or transition designation and the player then automatically becomes an unrestricted free agent either immediately or when his contract expires. The club cannot name a new franchise or transition player that year.

Unrestricted veteran free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed six or more accrued seasons whose contracts have expired. They are free to sign with any club, with no compensation owed to their old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). At that point, their rights revert to their old club if it made a "tender" offer (110 percent of last year's salary) to the player by June 1. Their old club then has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 16) to sign the player. If the player does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.

Restricted free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed three, four or five accrued seasons and whose contracts have expired. They have received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are free to negotiate with any club until April 15, at which time their rights revert to their original club. If a player accepts an offer from a new club, the old club will have the right to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elects not to match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, and the player receives the June 1 tender from his old club, the player's rights revert exclusively to his old club on June 1.

The signing period for unrestricted free agents began today (March 5) and concludes on July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). The signing period for restricted free agents also began today but concludes on April 15.

The following Saints players are restricted free agents who received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are subject to the first refusal/compensation system of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The old club has a right of first refusal to all players listed below. Compensation is as listed in the column on the right. If the old club has only a right of first refusal but is not entitled to any compensation, the designation "ROFR" appears in the column. In order to submit an offer sheet, a new club must have available the required choice or choices, defined as its own or better choices in the applicable rounds, in the 2010 NFL Draft. Offer sheets may be submitted to an old club by no later than 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on Friday, April 15.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Name Position Tender*     
Remi AyodeleNTROFR
Mike BellRBROFR
Jammal BrownT1st & 3rd
Jermon BushrodT2nd
Jeff CharlestonDEROFR
Jahri EvansG1st & 3rd
Anthony Hargrove    DT3rd
Roman HarperSS1st
Marvin Mitchell LB7th
Lance MooreWR2nd
Chris ReisSROFR
Courtney RobyWR3rd
Zach StriefT2nd
David ThomasTE3rd
Pierre ThomasRB2nd
Usama YoungDB 3rd
 

The following Saints players are unrestricted free agents with six or more accrued seasons. Subject to the CBA's "Final Eight Plan" rules, the players in this category may be signed by any club in the league until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first training camp, whichever is later), with no rights of any character held by the old club.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Name  Position
Mark BrunellQB
Dan CampbellTE
Kendrick Clancy    NT
Darnell DinkinsTE
Scott FujitaLB
Jason KyleLS
Nick LeckeyC
Billy MillerTE
Pierson PrioleauDB
Darren SharperFS
Paul SpicerDE
 

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