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For the record: Primer on UFA negotiation window

By Tim Graham

In less than two hours, the three-day negotiation window for unrestricted free agents will begin.

Representatives for players with expiring contracts and more than three years of accrued service are permitted to speak with the other 31 teams. The top Buffalo Bills players who are in this category include left guard Andy Levitre, cornerback Leodis McKelvin and defensive end Kyle Moore.

The following explanation was distributed by the NFL to help people understand this new wrinkle to the process:

Beginning at 12 midnight and ending at 3:59:59 p.m. (all times Eastern) Tuesday, clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2012 player contracts at 4 p.m. Tuesday.  However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. Tuesday.

During this negotiation period, a prospective unrestricted free agent cannot visit a club (other than the player's current club) at its permanent facility or at any other location, and no direct contact is permitted between the player and any employee or representative of a club (other than the player's current club).  If a player is self-represented, clubs are prohibited from discussions with the player during the negotiating period.

Clubs (other than the player's current club) may not discuss or make any travel arrangements with prospective unrestricted free-agent players, their certified agents or anyone else associated with the player until the expiration of those players' 2012 player contracts at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The three-day negotiating period applies only to potential unrestricted free agents. It does not apply to players who are potential exclusive-rights players or restricted free agents or to players who have been designated as franchise players or transition players.


2013 free agency | Andy Levitre | For the record | Kyle Moore | Leodis McKelvin
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |