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Restricted Free Agent

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Reggie Wells of the Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Reggie Wells was a restricted free agent in the 2006 offseason.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Definition: A restricted free agent is a player who has received a "qualifying" offer (negotiated in the CBA) from his old club, but is free to negotiate with any club through the free agent signing period. If he accepts an offer sheet from a new club, his old club can match the offer and retain him, or not match the offer and possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer.

If an offer sheet is not executed, the player’s rights revert to his old club after the free agent signing period ends.

Players become restricted free agents when they complete three accrued seasons and their contract expires.

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