When Does the NFL Free Agency Start?

The NFL free agency period is one of the most exciting times of the year for fans, as it’s a time when teams can improve their rosters for the upcoming season. Here’s everything you need to know about when the free agency period starts.


The National Football League (NFL) free agency period is the time when most professional football contracts come to an end and players become free agents who are able to negotiate new contracts with any club, without restriction, unless they were subject to a franchise tag or transition tag in their previous contract. In simple terms, it is a period of great upheaval and excitement for fans as their favorite team tries to improve its roster by signing big-name free agents.

What is NFL Free Agency?

In the National Football League, free agency is the time when most contracts come to an end and players are free to sign with any club of their choice, including their former team.

During free agency, teams can also sign players from other teams in exchange for draft picks. This is known as trading.

The free agency period usually starts in early March, after the NFL Scouting Combine.

How Does NFL Free Agency Work?

Each year, NFL teams look to sign the best free agents available to fill gaps on their rosters. Free agency usually begins in early March, when teams are allowed to begin negotiating with agents of players who will become free agents. At that point, teams can re-sign their own free agents, sign free agents from other teams or let them go on the open market.

Here’s a look at how NFL free agency works and what you need to know:

What is free agency?
In the NFL, free agency is a system that allows players who have completed their contract to sign with any team they choose. Players typically become free agents after four years in the league, though some players with fewer than four years of experience may also become free agents under certain circumstances.

When does free agency start?
The NFL’s new league year officially begins at 4 p.m. ET on the first day of the new calendar year (March 13 this year). That’s when teams are allowed to begin signing players to contracts and making trades official. However, teams can begin negotiating with agents of impending free agents as early as two days before the start of the new league year (March 11 this year).

What is the “franchise tag”?
The franchise tag is a designation that allows a team to keep one pending unrestricted free agent per year from signing with another team. Each team can use one franchise tag per offseason. There are two types of franchise tags: exclusive rights and non-exclusive rights. The exclusive rights tag means the player can only negotiate with his current team, while the non-exclusive rights tag allows him to negotiate with other teams but gives his current team the right to match any offer he receives. If his current team declines to match an offer, it would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation from the signing team.

When Does NFL Free Agency Start?

One of the most exciting times during the NFL offseason is free agency. After months of rumors and speculation, players can finally sign with new teams, and rosters can start to take shape for the upcoming season.

While the exact date of when free agency will start has yet to be announced, it typically begins in early March. This year, free agency is set to begin on March 17.

During free agency, teams can sign unrestricted free agents, who are free to sign with any team, and restricted free agents, who are only able to sign offer sheets from other teams. If a restricted free agent signs an offer sheet from another team, their current team has the option to match the offer and keep the player. If they decline to match the offer, they will receive draft compensation based on the value of the contract.

There are also some players who become unrestricted free agents after their contracts expire. These players are typically older veterans who have been in the league for a number of years.

Once free agency begins, it usually lasts for a few weeks as teams scramble to sign players before they can agree to contracts with other teams. During this time, there are often multiple reports of agreements between players and teams, but nothing is official until the contract is signed.

Once free agency comes to an end, teams will turn their focus to the NFL Draft, which is typically held in late April or early May.

What Happens During NFL Free Agency?

Once the new league year begins, NFL teams are allowed to start signing free agents. However, before teams can start signing players, there is a negotiation window where agents can talk to teams about their clients.During this window, which lasts two days, teams are not allowed to sign players, but they can agree to terms on contracts. Once the negotiating window closes, teams can start signing free agents at any time.

The first day of free agency is when most of the big-name free agents Sign with new teams. This is because they often take the most time to negotiations and often have multiple offers on the table. As free agency goes on, many of the remaining unsigned free agents will lower their asking price in order to find a team.

How Does NFL Free Agency Affect the Draft?

NFL free agency is when players who are scheduled to become free agents can sign with any team in the league, without restriction, for any contract they agree upon. NFL free agency generally begins in early March and runs through mid-July, although some player movement may still occur during training camp and the preseason.

The NFL draft is held in late April and consists of seven rounds in which each NFL team selects one player. College graduates who have completed their eligibility are eligible to be drafted, as are underclassmen who declare for the draft. Players who have been in the league for less than four years are also considered free agents and can sign with any team.

Free agency can have a big impact on the NFL draft. If a team loses a lot of players in free agency, they may be inclined to use their high draft picks to replace those lost players. Conversely, if a team retains most of its key players in free agency, it may be more likely to use its high draft picks to add depth or select players at positions of need.


The legal tampering period for the 2021 NFL free agency begins on Monday, March 15th.

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