Who are the Seattle Seahawks 2023 Restricted Free Agents and Exclusive Rights Free Agents?
Per the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, a restricted free agent (RFA) is any NFL veteran [that reaches the end of his contract] with three accrued seasons but not four accrued seasons of service (Note: I go to quickly look up the definition of “accrued”). An RFA is offered a qualifying offer by his current team and the current team has a right of first refusal and might receive a draft selection as compensation if the player signs a contract with a new team.
This one hurts a player like Ryan Neal who has been really good for a couple of seasons but has not yet reached a third full year. Neal was actually the highest-graded safety in the NFL in 2022, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He will have to wait for a bigger payday until next offseason.
An exclusive rights free agent (ERFA) is any NFL veteran [who reaches the end of his contract] with less than three accrued seasons. A rookie (meaning a first-year player), second, and third-year player each fall into this category. If a player is offered a contract by his current team, he must sign it or not play anywhere else.
Here is the list of current RFAs and ERFAs for Seattle:
Myles Adams (ERFA), defensive tackle (Tendered)
Penny Hart (RFA), wide receiver
Godwin Igwebuike (ERFA), safety/kick returner
Michael Jackson (ERFA), cornerback (Tendered)
Tony Jones (RFA), running back
Ryan Neal (RFA), safety (Update: Seattle has tendered Neal a contract giving the team the right of first refusal)
Jon Rhattigan (ERFA), linebacker (Tendered)
Cody Thompson (ERFA), wide receiver