When does the 2013 free agency signing period begin?

At 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 12.

What is the salary cap for 2013?

$123 million per club.

When must teams be in compliance with the cap?

At the start of the 2013 League Year, which begins at 4 p.m. EDT on March 12.

What is permitted during the new three-day negotiating period prior to the start of free agency?

Beginning at midnight EDT on Saturday, March 9 and ending at 3:59 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, March 12, clubs can contact, and enter into negotiations with, certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents (UFA) upon the expiration of their 2012 contracts at 4 p.m. EDT on March 12. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4 p.m. EDT on March 12.

During this negotiation period, a prospective UFA 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).

What are the categories of free agency?

Players are either Restricted Free Agents (RFA) or Unrestricted Free Agents. An RFA may be subject to a qualifying offer, while a UFA is free to negotiate with any club — including his own.

What is the time period for free agency signings this year?

For RFAs, from March 12 to April 19. For UFAs who have received the June 1 tender from their prior club, from March 12 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later).

What is the difference between a Restricted Free Agent and an Unrestricted Free Agent?

Players with three Accrued Seasons become RFAs when their contracts expire (March 12 at 3:59 p.m. EDT). UFAs have completed four or more Accrued Seasons. A UFA is free to sign with any club with no draft choice compensation owed to his old club.

What constitutes an “Accrued Season”?

Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved/injured or reserve/physically unable to perform lists.

What could restrict the ability of a RFA to sign with a new club?

If he has received a “qualifying offer” from his old club. He can negotiate with any club through April 19. If the RFA signs an offer sheet with a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him because the qualifying offer entitles it to a “right of first refusal” on any offer sheet the player signs.

If the old club does not match the offer, it may receive draft choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed on or before April 19, the player’s negotiating rights revert exclusively to his old club.

Source: NFL