2022 NFL Free Agency: What is it and how does it work?

The offseason in the NFL can be just as exciting as when the season is actually in play at times, as this is when teams will look to make a number of changes to their rosters in an attempt to get stronger and perhaps challenge for the Super Bowl.

Indeed, there are a couple of different avenues that franchises can explore when it comes down to rebuilding their squads, with the NFL Draft one of the popular options, especially when it comes down to acquiring players for the long-term future as these individuals will have only just come out of the college game.

Of course, this year’s draft will be an interesting one and perhaps even bigger for some as there are a number of betting opportunities available to people all over the U.S. as sports betting has managed to flourish in a number of states. Indeed, Unibet’s Virginia sportsbook platform is a great option for those who are interested in placing wagers on this upcoming event.

However, it could also be argued that the NFL free agency is another one of the top options for teams around the league where they can look to try and acquire talented and established professional American Football players.

NFL Free Agency

NFL free agency is a time of the year when teams can sign players who are not under contract with other teams. Players who are not under contract can be signed by any team, and the team that signs them is responsible for their salary. Teams can negotiate with free agents prior to the start of free agency, but no contracts can be signed until the start of free agency.

What does the 2022 free agent schedule look like?

The 2022 NFL free agency schedule looks like the following:

  • March 14-16: Legal tampering allowed, but no contracts can be signed. Negotiations can take place between teams and players and their representatives between 12 PM ET on March 14 and 3:59 PM ET on March 16.
  • March 16: The official beginning of free agency, where players are allowed to sign new contracts and join a new team.
  • April 18: Players can join in team workouts as NFL offseason training begins.
  • April 22: The last day on which restricted free agents can sign offer sheets.
  • April 28-30: The NFL Draft takes place in Las Vegas across these dates.

Types of free agents that can be signed

There are three types of free agents: unrestricted, restricted, and exclusive rights.

Unrestricted free agents are players who are not under contract with any team and can sign with any team they choose. 

Restricted free agents are players who have 3 years or less of service in the league and are not under contract with their current team. A team can choose to match any offer a restricted free agent receives from another team, or they can let the player go and receive compensation from the other team. 

Exclusive rights free agents are players who have less than 2 years of service in the league and are not under contract with their current team. A team can either sign an exclusive rights free agent to a new contract or place them on the reserve/non-football illness list.

What is the salary cap for the 2022 NFL season?

The salary cap for the 2022 season is $208.2 million per team. Teams can only have 53 players on their active roster, so some players will have to be released or placed on injured reserve in order to make room for the new players. 

Some of the top players in the league can make a lot of money during free agency, however this can be rather dangerous for some teams as they could end up paying over the odds for certain individuals. On the flip side, though, they could get some real value, too.

Who has been overpaid and who could be underpriced?

There have been a number of examples where teams have overpaid for players in free agency, with individuals such as Kenny Golladay (New York Giants) and Andy Dalton (Dallas Cowboys) being in the conversations of being overpaid in 2021.

However, it could be argued that free agency also provides teams with bargains at times, with individuals in the upcoming period perhaps worth taking stock on. For instance, Juju Smith-Schuster, Rashard Penny, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and veteran Melvin Ingram could be quietly underpriced this year.

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