The free agency moratorium is a 6 day period from 6pm ET on 30th June to 12pm ET on 6th July when there is restrictions on which players can sign contracts. The moratorium is when contract negotiations are officially supposed to take place. However, most of the top free agents will have been in contact with teams before this. Teams cannot make trades during the Moratorium so must make any moves to free up cap space before the end of June.
Although most players cannot sign during the moratorium there is a number of exceptions:
- Restricted free agents can accept a qualifying offer from their current team or sign an offer sheet from another team, which requires their current team to match it in order to keep the player.
- Players can be waived and players on waivers can be claimed by other teams.
- First round draft picks can be signed to rookie contracts and second round draft picks can accept their standard one year contract offer.
- A player can be signed to a minimum salary contract or for either one or two years or a two-way contract.
Unrestricted free agents that sign for more than the minimum are the main group not allowed to sign during the moratorium. These are the free agents with the most freedom and are in demand around the league. During the moratorium these players can come to an agreement with a team, but the deal will not go through until 6th July and either party can pull out before this. The moratorium gives the best free agents a chance to receive offers from multiple teams and pick their preferred destination. It also gives teams the chance to offer contracts to multiple players and have a backup plan if one agreement falls through.