New league year begins March 11

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As we prepare to change the calendar from 2013 to 2014, the NFL will eventually catch up with the rest of us in March.

The league announced Friday that the new league year will begin on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. ET.

At that point, free agency opens and each team must be in compliance with the 2014 salary cap.  Owners recently were told that the cap will be in the range of $126.3 million per team; we’ve reported that it’s more likely to exceed $127.5 million.

For the second consecutive year, clubs will be permitted to contact the agents who represent impending free agents as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 8, at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Preceding free agency will be the usual two-week period for application of the franchise tag.  This year, the window opens on February 17.  It closes on March 3.