The Cap: Lions Restricted Free-Agent Q&A

Restricted Free Agency will come to a close this Friday, April 19th. RFA's have until this Friday to negotiate a player contract with another team. If they fail to do so, their rights remain with their current club. Below is a Q&A about RFA.

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Restricted Free Agency will come to a close this Friday, April 19th. RFA's have until this Friday to negotiate a player contract with another team. If they fail to do so, their rights remain with their current club. Below is a Q&A about RFA.

Who is eligible for Restricted Free Agency? - When the salary cap is in effect, anyone with three accrued seasons in the NFL and has a contract set to expire on the last day of the league year (end of February).

What is an accrued season? - A player earns an accrued season when he is on the Active, Inactive or Injured Reserve list for six regular season games.

If a player is eligible for Restricted Free Agency, does he automatically become a RFA? - No, he must receive a "tender" from a team that owns his rights.

What is a "Tender"? - A tender is a one-year contract offer from the club that owns a player's rights.

How much is the Tender? - For 2008 league year, there are four tender levels for Restricted Free Agents, as follow:

  • 1st & 3rd Round Tender - $2,562,000
  • 1st Round Tender - $2,017,000
  • 2nd Round Tender - $1,417,000
  • General Tender - $927,000

What happens after a RFA receives his tender? - A player has two options:

  • He may sign the tender and if he survives final cuts, he'll be due the salary assigned to the tender. However, none of the salary is guaranteed and he could be cut on the final day of camp and not make anything.
  • He can attempt to negotiate a player contract with another team.

What happens if he negotiates a contract with another team? - The new team and the RFA would sign an offer sheet that contains the principle terms of a pending contract (Number of years, Guaranteed Money, Signing Bonus, Roster Bonuses, Base Salary, etc). The player would then submit the offer sheet to his prior club, who would have 7 days to decide if they want to match the offer sheet or decline and receive any draft choice compensation that is attached to the tender.

What draft choice compensation is attached to the tender?

  • 1st & 3rd round tender - 1st & 3rd round draft choice compensation
  • 1st round tender - 1st round draft choice compensation
  • 2nd round tender - 2nd round draft choice compensation
  • General tender - draft choice compensation equal to the round in which the RFA was originally drafted. An undrafted player would have no draft choice compensation.

Who are the Lion's RFA's? - Stanley Wilson has already signed his general tender and is scheduled to make $927,000 next season. As of Today, the Lions still have 3 players who haven't signed their tender yet.

Will the Lions sign any RFA's? - The Lions did sign one restricted free agent, Kalvin Pearson. Pearson received a general tender and was originally an undrafted rookie free agent and, therefore, the Lions didn't lose any draft picks. At this time, I don't think the Lions will pursue any other RFA's. If they do, they'd probably look at defensive line or linebacker, where there are a few remaining RFA's.


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