NFL free agency opens in one week, but there will be many players becoming unrestricted free agents who won't sign a contract anytime soon.
That's because they'll be victims of the compensatory draft pick process. Under the current CBA, players who become unrestricted free agents on the first day of the league year and who are not signed by June 1 aren't included in the formula for determining compensatory picks.
An example of this is the Bengals and tight end Alex Smith. He became a free agent last year, but because Cincinnati had potential compensatory draft picks on the line from losing Anthony Collins and Michael Johnson, Smith wasn't re-signed until June 3.
According to Pro Football Talk, the June 1 rule could be moved up one month to May 1.
Per a league source, the June 1 line of demarcation could move to May 1. The goal would be to give players who otherwise won’t be employed until June 1 a chance to participate in the bulk of the offseason practices. By signing after June 1, the players get limited opportunities for offseason reps.
This comes on the heels of a report that the NFL could be changing its rules regarding inactive lists and 53-man roster limits.