What Rashid Shaheed’s ERFA status means for the Saints

Coming off of a Pro Bowl season, Rashid Shaheed will be an exclusive rights free agent. Here’s what that means for his future with the New Orleans Saints.
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

Rashid Shaheed was a bright spot for the New Orleans Saints during their underwhelming 9-8 2023 season. The explosive receiver and returner cemented himself as key building block for New Orleans, and also made his first Pro Bowl. Now, after his breakout season, Shaheed is actually set to be a free agent.

However, he won’t be the kind of free agent that everyone usually refers to during this time of the offseason. In the NFL, there are four types of free agents: unrestricted free agents (UFA), restricted free agents (RFA), exclusive rights free agent (ERFA), and undrafted free agents (UDFA).

Typically, when speaking about free agents, everyone is talking about unrestricted free agents. Rashid Shaheed, however, is an exclusive rights free agent. What exactly does that mean?

What is an exclusive rights free agent?

An exclusive rights free agent is a player with less than three accrued seasons whose contract has expired. A player has to be on a roster for at least six games to accrue a season. Unlike UFAs, teams still have the rights to exclusive rights free agents.

Teams can offer ERFAs one-year contracts at the league minimum. If a team offers an ERFA a contract, the player must accept or he won’t be able to play in the league that season. The team could, however, let the player walk and sign with whatever team they’d like to.

So as it pertains to the New Orleans Saints and Rashid Shaheed‘s free agency, the Saints will ultimately decide whether they want Shaheed to remain on the team or not. Obviously, giving Shaheed a qualifying offer seems like a no brainer.

In just his second season in the league, Shaheed caught 46 passes for 719 yards and five touchdowns. He also had 339 punt return yards and a touchdown, as well as 384 kick return yards. He’s a phenomenal returner and has emegered as the No. 2 receiver in New Orleans. The Saints should definitely keep him around.