IRVING, Texas – While the free agency period doesn't begin until Tuesday, the three-day negotiating period prior to the start of free agency begins late tonight.
After 11 p.m. CT, clubs are permitted to contact and enter into negotiations with the agents of players set to become unrestricted free agents. If a deal is agreed upon during this time, it can't be executed until the free agency period begins Tuesday afternoon.
Also during the negotiating period, an unrestricted free agent can't visit a prospective team other than the player's current club, and no direct contact is permitted between the player or an employee of any team other than the player's current club. The three-day period only applies to unrestricted free agents.
Here's a list of some other answers to questions about the impending free agency period, via NFL Communications:
Q. When does the 2013 free agency signing period begin?
A. At 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 12.
Q. What are the categories of free agency?
A. Players are either "Restricted Free Agents" or "Unrestricted Free Agents." A Restricted Free Agent may be subject to a qualifying offer. A Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agent may be designated by his prior club as its Franchise Player or Transition Player.
Q. What is the time period for free agency signings this year?
A. For Restricted Free Agents, from March 12 to April 19. For Unrestricted Free Agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 12 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). For Franchise Players, from March 12 until the Tuesday following the 10th week of the regular season, November 12. If a Franchise Player does not sign by November 12, he must sit out the season. There are no Transition Player designations this year.
Q. What is the difference between a Restricted Free Agent and an Unrestricted Free Agent?
A*. *In the 2013 League Year, players with three Accrued Seasons become Restricted Free Agents when their contracts expire at the conclusion of the 2012 League Year. Unrestricted Free Agents have completed four or more Accrued Seasons. An Unrestricted Free Agent is free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.
Q. What constitutes an "Accrued Season"?
A. Six or more regular-season games on a club's active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.
Q. Can a club decide to withdraw its Franchise or Transition designations on a player?
A. Yes. A club can withdraw its Franchise or Transition designation and the player then automatically becomes an Unrestricted Free Agent, either immediately or when his contract expires.
Q. After withdrawing the designation, can a club then designate another player?
A*. *Not in the same season.
Q. What is the salary cap for 2013?
A. The salary cap is $123,000,000 per club.
Q. When must teams be in compliance with the cap?
A. At the start of the 2013 League Year, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 12.
Q. If a team is under the salary cap at the end of a given season, can the team carry over room to the next season?
A. Yes. A team may "carry over" room from one League Year to the following League Year by submitting notice to the NFL prior to 4:00 p.m. ET on the day before the team's final regular-season game indicating the maximum amount of room that the club wishes to carry over.
Q. What is the maximum amount of room that a club can carry over?
A. One hundred percent of its remaining room.