When Does NFL Free Agency Start in 2022?

Get the latest information on when NFL free agency starts for the 2022 season.


National Football League free agency refers to the period when professional American football teams may sign newly eligible players. It generally occurs in late February or early March, just prior to the start of the new league year. Teams must be under the salary cap to sign new players, and only have a certain amount of money to spend on unsigned players, called “cap space.”

What is NFL Free Agency?

In the National Football League (NFL), free agency is the time when most professional contracts have expired and players are able to sign with any club of their choosing, without restriction, negotiation, or compensation.

Free agency officially begins on the first day of the new NFL league year, which is typically in March. However, teams are allowed to begin negotiating with pending free agents during a period known as the “legal tampering” period, which typically begins a few days before free agency officially opens.

During free agency, teams can sign unrestricted free agents (players who have completed four or more NFL seasons and are not under contract with a team) to contracts of any length and for any amount of money. However, teams must be mindful of the salary cap when signing free agents, as they can only spend a certain amount of money each year on player salaries.

Once free agency begins, it usually lasts until late August or early September, at which point rosters must be finalized for the start of the regular season.

Key Dates for the 2022 NFL Free Agency Period

The NFL free agency period is one of the most exciting times of the year for football fans. Every team in the league is looking to improve their roster, and there are always a few big-name players who change teams. Here are the key dates for the 2022 NFL free agency period.

February 28: The NFL free agency period begins.

March 1: The first day that teams can sign free agents from other teams.

March 7-9: The NFL Scouting Combine takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana.

March 10: The first day that teams can sign their own free agents.

April 17-24: The NFL Draft takes place in New York City, New York.

How Free Agency Affects the NFL Draft

The NFL draft is the league’s annual process of assigning collegiate football players to its teams. The draft order is determined based on the previous season’s standings, with the team that had the worst record receiving the first pick.

Free agency can have a big impact on how teams approach the NFL draft. NFL teams can sign free agents up until May 10th. After that date, any unsigned free agent counts towards the compensatory picks that are awarded at the end of the third round of the NFL draft.

In general, teams will avoid signing free agents after May 10th so that they don’t lose valuable draft picks. However, there are always exceptions to this rule. For example, a team might sign a player after May 10th if they believe that player can help them win a Super Bowl.

The start of NFL free agency also affects when the NFL draft will be held. In recent years, the NFL draft has been held in late April or early May. However, if free agency starts earlier than usual (as it did in 2020), then the NFL draft will also be moved up to an earlier date.


The NFL Free Agency period for the 2022 season will begin on March 9th.

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