What is a restricted free agent in the NFL?

We know that an unrestricted free agent (UFA) in the NFL is a player with four accrued seasons and an expiring contract, but what are the qualifications for a restricted free agent in the NFL?

A restricted free agent (RFA) is a player with three accrued seasons and an expiring contract. Different from UFAs, RFAs are eligible to receive a first-round ($6,005,000), second-round ($4,304,000) or a right of first refusal ($2,627,000) tender that lasts for one season.

If the Denver Broncos, for example, place a first-round tender on an RFA and that player signs a bigger contract with another team, that club would have to send a first-round pick to Denver for the player. The same concept applies to a second-round tender, and the right of first refusal tender would give the team a chance to match an offer a player might receive from another club.

If the Broncos decline to place a tender on a restricted free agent, that player would become an unrestricted free agent. Denver has four players scheduled to become RFAs this spring, most notably including backup quarterback Brett Rypien.

The Broncos also have 17 players set to become UFAs on March 15.


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Story originally appeared on Broncos Wire