When does NFL free agency start?

Brady, Rivers headline 2020 free agent class

The NFL’s 32 teams can start to reshape their rosters for the upcoming season when the league’s free agency period officially opens.

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Prior to each season, the NFL free agency period begins with a two-stage process. Teams have 48 hours to reach out to prospective players and start negotiations as part of a “legal tampering” window. From there, free agency begins and teams can move to finalize contracts.

TOM BRADY FREE AGENCY WATCH ATTRACTS THIS MANY NFL TEAMS

For the 2020 season, the NFL’s legal tampering window runs from March 16-18. During this period, teams and player representatives can negotiate the financial terms of potential contracts.

The legal tampering window carries some restrictions. Players cannot meet in person with teams other than their current team. Only player agents can participate in the talks, not the players themselves.

NFL COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT, EXPLAINED

NFL free agency begins on March 18 at 4 p.m. ET. The date also marks the start of the NFL’s 2020 “league year,” meaning that a new salary cap and any other tweaks have taken effect.

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Once free agency is underway, teams and players are free to communicate, finalize and announce contracts as they are completed.

Prominent prospective free agents this offseason include several top quarterbacks, including Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers, Drew Brees and Jameis Winston.

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