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#50 SimNFL Free Agency Player List & Process, and Draft Date


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Hello coaches!


Last time, we walked through the generated contracts for existing players – those selected out of the player pool. Today we’ll cover the rules for offseason free agency: how to make legal contracts, how to submit bids, and how competing offers will be compared. Finally, we'll reveal the list of free agents who are available in 2022. But first, let's start with some announcements:


Free Agency will open on Monday, March 28th!


The first SimFBA NFL Draft will take place on April 23rd-24th!

  • April 23rd: Rounds 1-2
  • April 24th: Rounds 3-8

Read on to learn everything you'll need to know about free agency.


Player Selection

Currently the list of available free agents is a subset of players not selected out of the player pools; it will eventually include players undrafted out of college (more on that in a minute). In the future it will also include all players who are cut by their team or who play out their contract with a team and are not re-signed.


Presently all free agents are unrestricted and can sign with any team. There may be features added later for restricted free agency (for younger players whose contracts expire), but that isn’t relevant at this time.


There were 570 players selected for free agency: 30 Pro Bowlers, 90 Starters, and 450 Below Average players. Player selection was mostly random, but with a preference for an even distribution between age groups at each skill level. The intention is to provide enough talent and depth that teams can, via free agency and the draft, fill out a 90-man camp roster with players who are scheme fits and are capable enough to compete for a roster spot, while also creating a competitive environment for the most talented free agents. The 30:90:450 ratio is also in line with the number of selections allowed by each team from their player pools (roughly 3:9:43).


Contract Rules

As mentioned in the previous Dev Diary, there are two components to any contract. Bonus is guaranteed and is always pro-rated evenly over the life of the contract; Salary is the remaining money which is not guaranteed and can change year to year.


All offered contracts must conform to the following rules:

  • Duration of at least 1 year, but no more than 5 years
  • Salary cannot decrease (but can remain flat)
  • Total pay cannot increase by more than 50% from one year to the next (or $3M, whichever is higher)
  • The highest year's pay cannot be more than double the lowest year's play (or $6M more, whichever is higher)
  • Before the draft, at least 30% of any offer must be Bonus money
    • After the draft, Bonus can be any amount, even 0%

The percentages in rules 2 & 3 exist to minimize back-loading of large contracts - you cannot sign a player to a contract of 5/10/25 million over 3 years.

The dollar amounts exist to ensure small contacts are still feasible - you can sign a player to a contract of 2/4/6 million over 3 years


Contract Value

Free agents will always sign with the contract that offers them the highest Value. To compare contracts of different lengths and Bonus/Salary amounts, the following formula is used:


Each $1M of Bonus is worth 1.0 in the first year, and 0.1 less each year thereafter

Each $1M of Salary is worth 0.8 in the first year, and 50% less each year thereafter (0.4, 0.2, etc)


An online calculator is available here. It includes checks for all the rules mentioned above. Please save your own copy before using. Here is a sample contract – manual entries are in yellow, formulas in white.




Here the player is being offered a 4-year, $36M contract with a $16M signing bonus. That bonus automatically works out to $4M a year, with a salary that is increasing slightly every year. The total value for this contract is 18.8; that is the number that will be compared against competing offers to see where the player signs.


Note that the contract meets all the requirements mentioned above. The total money increases gradually over time and never goes down; the cheapest year of the contract is $6M, which is still 50% of the most expensive year ($12M); and the signing bonus is 44% of the total value.


Free Agency Process

Off-season free agency will take place over 3 real-time weeks (Monday-Sunday) before the draft, with a 4th week coming after the draft. Free agents will be split into groups based on their Overall score. Each Monday, a new group of players will become available for negotiations and will start accepting offers. At 11:59 PM on Sunday night the offer window will close, and those players will sign with the teams that offered the highest contracts. Then the second group begins negotiating, and so on.

  • Week 1 (3/28-4/3) will be players with an Overall of 79 or higher (this year there are 25 such players)
  • Week 2 (4/4-4/10) will be players with an Overall of 61 or higher (another 95)
  • Week 3 (4/11-4/17) will be all remaining players (another 450)
    • Draft week (4/23-4/24)

    [*]Week 4 (4/25-5/1) will be undrafted rookies and any remaining pool players

Note that the Overall cutoff may change in future years depending on player availability. These values are only guaranteed for the current off-season.


The first week of free agency will only cover those 25 highly rated players in the first group. This is intended to mimic the NFL by having teams focus on the most talented and expensive free agents first, then allowing those results to impact how teams approach the rest of free agency and the draft.


To submit an offer, teams will use the form below. Enter your team abbreviation, the player ID, and the details of the contract - years, signing bonus, total money, calculated value. Make sure the final 3 fields are only numbers, with no symbols or letters (decimals are fine). There is no limit to the number of offers you can submit, but all offers are binding and must be fulfilled if accepted.




The abbreviations below will be used to determine the winning bids: make sure to use the correct letters for your team.




Each morning, site admins will publish the current best offer (by value) for every free agent, along with the team that made it. If that offer goes unmatched for 48 hours, the player immediately signs with that team. Otherwise, after the deadline on the 7th day the player signs with the highest value contract offered. Signings and contract details will be posted on Monday morning. If a player receives no offer, they will remain available into the following week(s).


Offers will only be pulled once per day, to avoid giving admins inside information. For total transparency, the entire list of day 7 offers (with team names and timestamps) will be posted publicly as well when signings are announced.


The goal with this system is to provide some information on how much players are being offered, and by whom, without revealing the full scope of negotiations. It attempts to force teams to make realistic offers by limiting the amount of time teams can negotiate with key players, and so avoid lengthy bidding wars. To prevent manipulation, there is also an “anti-sandbagging” rule in effect for the first two weeks:

  • A team cannot make their first offer to a player on day 7, unless that player has not received any offers from any team previously

This rule ensures that teams participate in the negotiation process and don’t attempt to “steal” players on the final day after other teams have done the work and set the price. Because this process is meant to simulate teams meeting with players, negotiating, having them compare offers, etc, it is unrealistic for a team to sign a free agent without showing some measure of interest beforehand (unless that player truly has no other choice). The rule is removed for later weeks, when there are hundreds of free agents to consider and offers are smaller/less competitive.


Further rules can be added if teams attempt to manipulate the system in unforeseen ways. Please participate in good faith.


Free Agency Pool

The list of 2022 free agents can be found here !


That’s all for this Dev Diary! Please ask any questions below and I will answer as soon as I can.



Edited by Piercewise1
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