What is an undrafted free agent and how do the rules work?

There will be fireworks during the 2024 NFL Draft, and we expect the Eagles will also light a few afterward.
Mekhi Garner, Philadelphia Eagles
Mekhi Garner, Philadelphia Eagles / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages

So, how is everyone? Are you hanging in there? We certainly hope so, but keep a smile on those faces. Our patience is paying off. Hours separate us from another NFL Draft and the welcome party for another Philadelphia Eagles draft class. As you might imagine, the natives are getting restless.

Philly owns eight picks. They met with several prospects while hosting their pre-draft visits. Everyone has their theories about what will happen. No one is truly certain of anything.

The Birds walk into the selection meeting armed with eight picks. We'll see if that's true when Commissioner Roger Goodell announces the selection meeting's beginning. Rumor has it that Howie Roseman wants to be aggressive and trade up, so there will be fireworks before the draft and immediately after.

Here's how the process of adding undrafted rookie free agents works.

We have dedicated hours to mentioning draft rumors and theories. Let's focus now on what comes after the curtain falls,

Prospects who aren't selected become unrestricted free agents once the NFL Draft ends if they haven't been taken during the selection meeting's seven rounds. These players are labeled as undrafted free agents (UDFAs).

Some represent themselves. Most are affiliated with an agent. They are free to make negotiations and sign with any team they choose. No set order determines who players can speak to and when teams are free to negotiate with them and sign them. In some cases, it can come down to a bidding war.

While the Eagles have done an excellent job with their signings as of late, there's an art to scouting. Ingenuity will be needed by the prospects as well. Making this Eagles team won't be an easy task.

The Eagles have found success in adding UDFAs.

The Eagles added 12 undrafted rookie free agents in 2023 after signing a baker's dozen in 2022. Of those 25 additions, three made the initial 53-man roster in 2022 (Reed Blankenship, Josh Sills, and Josh Jobe). Eli Ricks earned a spot on the initial 2023 53-man roster last year.
Britain Covey eventually worked his way onto the roster.

Eight of the 32 players the Eagles have added as UDFAs during Nick Sirianni's coaching era are listed as current members of Philadelphia's preseason roster. Blankenship, Covey, Jobe, Ricks, Mario Goodrich, Mekhi Garner, Joseph Ngata, and Ben VanSumeren are the owners of the names on that list.

The moral of the story is this. Philly will find talent during the selection meeting, and they'll add several more in the hours and days that follow the conclusion of the 2024 selection meeting.

You never know. There could be another Hollis Thomas, Corey Clement, or T.J. Edwards in the bunch.

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