When Does NFL Free Agency Start?

Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The NFL never sleeps. At the time of this story’s publishing, The Philadelphia Eagles are less than two weeks removed from the most disappointing loss of the past ten seasons, and there’s no time to feel sorry for themselves. It’s time to begin thinking about how they’re going to pull off what few teams have been able to do, get back to the Super Bowl after earning the short end of the stick on football’s biggest stage.

To do so, they’ll have to piece together yet another impressive roster. The process begins with a trip to Indianapolis for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Then, it will be time to dive head-first into free agency discussions.

Who will the Eagles lose? What new faces might they add? Expect conversations to be hot and heavy. Here are a few answers to the basic questions that some of you newbies may have.

When Does NFL Free Agency Start? Dates, news & a rumor

As of right now, every NFL team has an equal shot at winning the next Super Bowl, the 58th. The offseason winners will distance themselves as being the favorites to do so.

When does free agency officially begin?

  • March 13th-March 15th: The NFL’s legal tampering period begins
  • March 15th: Free agency/the new league year officially begins

Per league rules, the legal tampering period means teams “are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents” during the two-day period ahead of NFL free agency. Signings will officially be announced on March 15th at 4 p.m. EST when the new league year begins.

Prior to 4 p.m. EST on March 15th, all 32 NFL teams must be under the 2023 salary cap number ($224.8 million. That applies to the top 51 players on their roster. Teams must also exercise options for 2023 on all players who have those clauses in their 2022 contracts.

Here are a few other nuggets to make note of. All of which occur on March 15th.

  • All 2022 contracts that are set to expire do so at 4 p.m. EST.
  • Prior to 4 p.m. EST, teams must submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents with expiring contracts. Doing so allows them to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.
  • In order to retain exclusive negotiating rights to players with contracts that expire (players who have fewer than three accrued seasons of NFL free agency credit), teams must submit a minimum salary tender and do so by 4 p.m. EST.

The first day of the new league year ends on March 16th at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. All 32 teams will receive personnel notices that include every transaction that was submitted to league offices after 4 p.m. EST that day.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is one of the Eagles’ 20 impending free agents. Rumor has it the plan is to place the franchise tag on him if a deal can’t be reached. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.