Assembling a winning roster in the NFL is no easy task for any team. Coaches and general managers must spend a significant amount of time researching available players in order to make wise decisions when it comes to offering contract positions. Players that have obtained unrestricted free agency status are able to sign a deal with any team in the league. In order to ensure that a franchise secures the players it needs most, free agents must be pursued aggressively.

There are many factors that will come into play when determining which free agents a team will target and which teams a free agent will be interested in playing for. Understanding these factors will help fans better identify the many strategies used to build a winning franchise in the NFL today.

1. Player Health 

Football is a very physically demanding sport. It is common for players to experience minor injuries throughout their careers, but these injuries can have an effect on their marketability during free agent season.

A very good player who has a proven track record of performing at a high level could be coming off an injury as the free agent season starts. Injuries can alter the way a player performs, so many teams are hesitant to sign a recovering free agent until after the player proves that their skill remains.

Recovering free agents themselves may want to wait to sign a new contract until after proving their prowess. Signing before the player has a chance to prove themself could result in the acceptance of a low offer. By waiting to sign, a free agent could potentially increase their market value within the league.

2. Salary Cap Status

All teams within the NFL are required to function within a designated salary cap when it comes to paying their players. The salary cap is meant to help maintain a more competitive balance by preventing teams with more money from loading their roster with all the top players.

A team's salary cap status will play a significant role when it comes to signing free agents. General managers must calculate the contracted value of all players who are already committed to the franchise for the following season when creating a budget for free agent signing.

The difference between the league-identified salary cap and the total of all current player contracts is the amount of money available for a team to offer a free agent.

Teams who enter negotiations with ample money remaining under their salary cap can broker deals that will attract the most skilled players. If a free agent wants to play for a specific team, they may have to sign a contract providing a lower salary in order to prevent the team from exceeding the salary cap.

3. Coach and GM Movement

It's not just players who switch teams from one season to the next. A franchise can also choose to hire a new coaching staff or general manager at any time. The movement of coaches and GMs between franchises can have a direct impact on the signing of free agents.

Most people prefer the known over the unknown. Coaches are more willing to pursue a player they have worked with during a previous season than a player with whom they have no ties. Pursuing free agents that a coach has prior experience with ensures that the coach will know the skill level and work ethic of the players that are signed to their new team. 

Free agents play a significant role in shaping modern NFL franchises. Coaches and general managers must take a wide range of factors into consideration when pursuing free agents to ensure they assemble a roster of players that is capable of winning a championship. Look into sites like BSW Inc. that have information about NFL free agents 2022 to learn more.