The labor deal has a little-known provision that gives teams that ability to squat on unrestricted free agents who haven’t signed elsewhere by June 1. As of June 1, the player’s most recent team can offer a contract worth 110 percent of his prior year’s base salary (if it was a rookie contract that expired) or 110 percent of his total compensation from the prior season (for non-rookie deals).
With those tenders, the unrestricted free agents become essentially the exclusive property of their prior teams if not signed by a new team before July 22. From July 22 through Week 10 of the regular season, the no-longer-unrestricted free agents may sign only with their prior teams.
June 1 has come and gone, and the list of players who are now completely free and clear has been released by the NFL.
The list contains 160 names, including Cardinals defensive end Vonnie Holliday, Falcons defensive back Chris Hope, Ravens nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Bills defensive tackle Spencer Johnson, Panthers linebacker Antwan Applewhite, Bears defensive end Isreal Idonije, Bengals cornerback Nate Clements, Browns cornerback Sheldon Brown, Cowboys guard Derrick Dockery, Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley and linebacker Keith Brooking, Lions kicker Jason Hanson and running back Kevin Smith, Packers running backs Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant, Texans nose tackle Shaun Cody, Colts tackle Winston Justice and receiver Austin Collie, Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith and cornerback Rashean Mathis, Chiefs safety Abram Elam and running back Peyton Hillis, Vikings receiver Devin Aromashodu, Patriots receiver Donte’ Stallworth, Saints defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and receiver Devery Henderon, Giants defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, Jets receiver Braylon Edwards and guard Brandon “Butt Fumble” Moore, Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour, Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, nose tackle Casey Hampton, and center Doug Legursky, Chargers running back Jackie Battle, 49ers receiver Randy Moss and guard Leonard Davis, Seahawks linebacker LeRoy Hill, Buccaneers tight end Dallas Clark, Titans running back Javon Ringer, and Redskins safety Madieu Williams and tackle Jammal Brown.
All will remain free and clear, able to sign with any team at any time from now through the end of the 2013 season, and beyond.