Happy New Year! (sort of)
At 1:00 p.m. local Seattle time on today, the new league year officially begins and it signals the start of the free agency period that allows teams to start rebuilding their franchises for the upcoming season. There is a lot of key dates over the next few months, so let’s take a minute to examine all of the instrumental dates moving forward.
Here is a breakdown of the schedule for the new league year in simpler terms:
- March 12, 4:00 p.m. ET: New league year begins, free agency opens*
- April 19: Restricted free agents signing period ends**
- March 12 through June 1 [prior club tender], July 22: First training camp to sign UFAs
- March 12 through November 12: Window to sign franchise players
Free agency is always a wild ride and one of the most enjoyable times for NFL fans. The signings build up excitement for the upcoming season and help lift new teams into the category of Super Bowl contenders. Will your team improve and earn contender status? The next few months will determine that.
* All RFA must have been tendered a contract by their current team by this time, or they become a unrestricted Free Agent.
** After that date, if an RFA hasn’t been signed to an offer sheet by another team, they become an “exclusive rights” free agent, meaning they can only sign with their former team.