By Tim Graham
Here is a breakdown of the Buffalo Bills' 2013 free-agent class and what their designations mean.
Unrestricted free agents (13)
Teams have exclusive negotiating rights, but once free-agency begins, players are free to negotiate with other clubs. Original team receives no compensation if the player signs elsewhere.
The original team has the option to place a franchise tag on one unrestricted free agent (a guaranteed one-year salary at the average of the five highest-paid players at the position or a 20 percent raise, whichever is greater) or one transition tag (a guaranteed one-year salary at the average of the 10 highest-paid players at the position).
"Exclusive" franchise tags prohibit the player from negotiating with other clubs. A team that uses a "nonexclusive" franchise tag on a player and then declines to match an offer sheet from another club will receive two first-round draft choices from that team. Transition tags offer no such compensation.
- • Jairus Byrd, safety
- • Tashard Choice, running back
- • Tarvaris Jackson, quarterback
- • Spencer Johnson, defensive end
- • Andy Levitre, left guard
- • Ruvell Martin, wide receiver
- • Corey McIntyre, fullback
- • Leodis McKelvin, cornerback
- • Shawne Merriman, defensive end
- • Kyle Moore, defensive end
- • Chad Rinehart, offensive lineman
- • Bryan Scott, linebacker
- • Tyler Thigpen, quarterback
Restricted free agents (3)
The player may negotiate with other teams. But if the original club extends a qualifying offer to the player, then it retains right of first refusal to match any outside contract offer. There are three types of qualifying offers, offering different levels of payment and draft compensation if the player leaves.
- • Colin Brown, center
- • Donald Jones, wide receiver (Bills announced Thursday they won't tender)
- • David Nelson, wide receiver
Exclusive-rights free agents (2)
ERFA's are free agents in name only. They are players with two years of NFL experience or less and have expiring contracts. They may not negotiate with other clubs. If they are extended a contract offer, they must accept or not play at all.
- • Mike Caussin, tight end
- • Dorin Dickerson, tight end/fullback