How does free agency work?
The AFL introduced free agency at the end of the 2012 season, giving players another vehicle where they can move from club to club. Free agency is a common form of player movement in major football and sport codes around the world.
Under rules agreed between the AFL and the AFL Players Association in February 2010, restricted and unrestricted free agents may consider offers from rival clubs during the post-season period.
Compensation in the form of draft picks allocated by the AFL applies to clubs with a net loss of free agents. This is based on a formula determined by the AFL.
The veterans roster allowance has been changed to apply to players with 10 years of club service and will be based on a fixed total player payment amount (TPP) per player calculated as a percentage of TPP.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
Players who are in the top 25 percent of their club’s top salaries (that is, in the club’s top nine to ten highest paid players) are eligible for restricted free agency the first time they are they are out of contract, if they have served at least eight years with the club.
For example, a player who is under contract after his seventh year for one, two, three, four or five years will be eligible for restricted free agent status at the next end of contract after completing eight, nine, 10, respectively, 11 or 12 seasons.
A player in the top 25 percent is eligible for unrestricted free agent status at the next termination of contract, provided that a player can never be an unrestricted free agent until they have completed at least 10 years. of service in a club.
For example, a player who signs a one-year contract after his eighth season is not eligible for free will until he has completed at least 10 years of service.
Restricted free agents have the right to switch to a club of their choice, subject to the current club’s right of first refusal on their services. In other words, if the current club can “match” the offer of a contending club, the player must stay or participate in the draft. The tendered offer only includes football payments and Supplementary Service Agreement (ASA) amounts.
FREE AGENTS WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS
Players struck off by a club are unrestricted free agents, but a player who retires or retires himself is not eligible for free agent status.
Players who are not in the top 25 percent of their club’s salary (that is, among the club’s top nine to ten paid players) are eligible for unrestricted free will if they have served at least eight years with the club.
An unrestricted free agent can automatically switch to the club of their choice.
List of recruits
A player on the rookie list who retires is not eligible to be a free agent.
A first-year rookie who does not receive a second-year rookie contract offer is considered a delisted player and is therefore an unrestricted free agent.
A first-year rookie who does not accept a second-year rookie contract offer is not considered a delisted player and must nominate and go through the draft.
A second-year rookie who does not accept a third-year rookie contract offer is considered a delisted player and is therefore an unrestricted free agent.
PLAYERS WHO HAVE ALREADY CHANGED CLUBS IN FREE AGENTS
Under rules introduced in 2019, a player who previously moved as a free agent is leaving his contract and has not been at his new club for eight years now qualifies for unrestricted free agent status .
This represents any player who has crossed as a restricted, unrestricted, and delisted free agent, with the former listed players having been selected in the NAB AFL mid-season rookie draft also qualifying.
Players removed from senior rosters and retained as rookies are also included.
In 2019, this means that 50 more names were added to the pool of free agencies from the previous list published in March.
HOW THE TOP 25 PERCENT IS DETERMINED
The top 25 percent of a club’s roster (top 9-10 paid players) are based on guaranteed contract values for the relevant contract year (including ASAs).
The AFL publishes the names of these eligible players before the first round of each season. An updated list of restricted and unrestricted free agents is released during the season when changes occur and a final roster released during the week of the grand finale.
A contract offer is matched if the payments of football and ASA are equivalent under the offer and contract offered by the player’s current club. To be considered an equivalent offer, the player’s current club must make an offer on the same terms as the new offer submitted by the player, including:
• The duration of the contract
• Basic payments
• Total matching payments
• Total ASA payments
Total performance incentives based on AFL awards or accolades, club’s best and fairest result or matches played (excluding finals). Team performance incentives don’t have to match. A player cannot place an offer to be matched for a contract term of less than two years.
A club that has a net loss of players transferred to / from other clubs as free agents during a transfer period is entitled to compensation through domestic draft picks allocated by the AFL.
The compensation formula produces a point rating for players based on:
1. The new free agent contract
2. The age of the free agent
Draft picks are awarded to clubs based on the net total of points lost and earned for free agents during the transfer period.
Draft picks will be awarded to one of five places:
• 1st round
• end of the 1st round
• 2nd round
• end of the 2nd round
• 3rd round
In applying the formula, a committee of experts examines the results of the formula. The committee has the power to recommend alternative results to GM – Football Operations when the formula produces a significantly abnormal result.