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NFL Free Agency 2013 – ‘New Window for Negotiations’
Photo - WR Percy Harvin - Vikings
NFL Free Agency 2013 period opens on Tuesday March 12th at 4 pm. This year a new three day window for negotiations began on Saturday morning at midnight that gave clubs an opportunity to talk to agents about upcoming Free Agents to see if they are interested in their club and approximate contract dollars. They cannot sign until Tuesday March 12 at 4 pm, but it gives teams some guidelines about which players are interested in signing. Teams cannot talk to the player or have visits to their facilities. This initial free agency period is part of the new collective bargaining agreement that was signed last summer. The new salary cap was raised to $123 million per team that clubs must comply with by the opening of the new NFL year on March 4th. Teams can sign their own free agents now as well as restructure player contracts to create salary cap room.
The weekend prior to the opening of Free Agency creates a group of ‘New Street Free Agents’ of veteran players who are usually due large bonuses and higher salary for the upcoming season. Many veterans have been and will continue to be released through the early weeks with bonus clauses in upcoming contracts locked into specific dates. These ’Street’ free agents have become a core part of the Free Agency movement in recent years with many big names players hitting the open market after being released by teams. This year expect many new high profile veterans to join the open market as ‘Street” free agents, though none is expected to make the headlines like Peyton Manning did when he hit the open market last winter. He signed with the Broncos and made a significant impact on their offense winning the AFC West before losing in the playoffs.
This year NFL teams will have $123 million cap number to work with a slight increase over recent years. This was an increase of over $2.4 million over last year. The 2011 salary cap was $120.375 million with the 2012 cap slightly above at $120.6 million. That was only an increase of $225,000 over prior year.
NFL 2013 Trading Period - March 12th thru mid October 2013
The NFL trading period also starts on March 12th along with the Free Agency market and will provide a few big deals through the spring. With the new period for clubs to speak with agents a few key trades have already been agreed upon, but will not officially be announced until March 4th at 4pm.
Veterans, 49ers’ QB Alex Smith and Vikings’ wideout Percy Harvin will be changing clubs. The 49ers will trade Smith to the KC Chiefs for a #2 pick this year (34th overall) and conditional picks next year. The Vikings will trade Percy Harvin to the Seahawks for their #1 pick this year (25th overall) and #7 pick plus conditional middle tier pick next spring. The Vikings now have two #1 picks among 11 overall selections. The Super Bowl champion Ravens’ traded wideout Anquan Boldin to the 49ers for a 6th round selection this April. Boldin wanted to renegotiate his current contract, but his age (31) was a key factor for the deal.
Others veteran players that will garner a lot of interest when the trading period begins are Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis will attract enormous interest especially among playoff contenders. He will command at least one #1 pick plus other high choices or possibly two #1 picks. QB Mark Sanchez, Carson Palmer, Ryan Mallett, Nick Foles, Matt Flynn, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Weeden and Tim Tebow will all create interest and could have a huge effect on the early rounds of the NFL Draft 2013 according to which clubs land a veteran starting QB.
Veteran wideouts, Panthers’ Steve Smith, Titans’ Nate Washington, Eagles’ Jeremy Maclin and Dolphins’ Davone Bess could all be changing teams this offseason. All received interest by other NFL teams over the past year and each will get attention once the open market begins. Packers’ TE Jermichael Finley is unhappy with his current contract and wants to renegotiate with resistance by the Packers brass. He will get some interest from playoff contenders, though probably only warrants a middle round choice off his recent performance.
Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does regular sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College and NFL Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports and appeared on several CBS TV shows. He has worked for NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites over the past twenty years. He has been a player consultant for numerous player agents and has helped formulate their off and post season training programs related to the NFL Draft and Free Agency.