When does NFL free agency begin?

When does NFL free agency begin?

With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror and news from big players like Derek Carr is already hitting the market, it’s time to look forward to the new championship year. While the offseason is now fully underway, we are actually still a month away from the official start of the league’s new year. This happens at 3 p.m. on March 15. When that time comes and the league’s new year begins, NFL free agency will officially begin.

Before then, some things will happen to wrap up the current league year, however. Beginning February 21 and continuing through March 7, teams will have the option of placing franchise tags or transition tags on players. This could remove potential free agents from the market before it even opens. For example, it’s widely speculated that the Chiefs could go this route with left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., meaning Ryan Poles would never have the opportunity to bring him to Chicago. General managers will also have until 3 p.m. on March 15 to submit qualified restricted free agent bids and exclusive free agent bids.

That doesn’t mean GMs will first contact agents about their clients when the league’s new year begins. The NFL has a trading window that begins at 11 a.m. on March 13 so teams can be ready to sign players as soon as free agency begins two days later. Bringing him back to the Bears gives the Poles the opportunity to sign a great defensive lineman like Da’Ron Payne well before the draft.

The Bears are expected to have over a $90 million salary cap this offseason, giving them plenty of room to make a splash in free agency. It’s also more than any other team in the NFL. The Falcons come in second with about $55 million in projected cap space.

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