When does NFL free agency start?

Tom Brady, New England Patriots. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Tom Brady, New England Patriots. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

2020 NFL free agency is rapidly approaching. When does the new NFL league year begin? When can teams start negotiating with impending free agents?

2020 NFL free agency is only a few days away.

Yes, the new league year will be here before you know it. As always, the new league year commences on a Wednesday in March. A day after everybody wears green for St. Patrick’s Day, impending free agents will be looking for green as well, hoping to see their bank accounts grow. In short, 2020 NFL free agency officially begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 18.

Of course, the NFL has a legal tampering period going into effect 48 hours before the official start of free agency. At 4:00 p.m. ET on Monday, March 16, clubs are allowed to enter contract negotiations with impending free agents. This is why you see so many deals happen minutes, hours, sometimes even seconds after the start of the new year. The process has already begun.

Should a team be able to reach a deal prior to Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m. ET, it can only be agreed to in principal. Again, nothing becomes official until the new league year starts 48 hours after the legal tampering period goes into effect. However, that doesn’t mean agents of the impending free agent won’t leak the news to top NFL reporters in the country. We love this stuff.

Ultimately, free agency is great, but it’s a high-end NFL garage sale with desperate teams signing players their former employer didn’t see the value to keep around. Because of this, teams shopping in free agency typically end up paying a premium for a guy.

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2020 NFL free agency should be a wild ride with so many marquee quarterbacks hitting the open market. We’re only a week away from all the madness commencing, so get excited.