Not everyone celebrates New Year’s Day on January 1. For the NFL, it’s a day in March that is determined at some point before March.
This year, today’s the day. So Merry New Year!
As of 4:00 p.m. ET, the NFL’s 2014 year officially begins. At that point, every team must be in compliance with the salary cap. At that point, trades may happen.
At that point, free agents may actually receive offers and reach agreements and make travel plans and otherwise hit the market.
The official start of the new league years comes after three-plus days of illogical negotiations that can’t become a consensus. And as we get closer to 4:00 p.m. ET, it’s becoming harder to keep the non-deal deals under wraps.
If the NFL is serious about its rules, the NFL will investigate every report of a premature agreements and/or travel plans made before 4:00 p.m. ET. While it could be hard to get reporters to name their sources, some of the reports are coming from the NFL’s house band, which makes it (in theory) a lot easier to compel cooperation, if the NFL is truly serious about enforcing its bizarre negotiate-but-don’t-agree tampering window.
Don’t count on that happening. The league simply wants to keep the deals under wraps until 4:00 p.m. ET, in the hopes of eventually crafting a college football-style signing day, where players will announce in 15 minute intervals their next destinations, live on NFL Network.
For now, it’s a free for all. And you can follow all of it right here — for free — through the rest of the day and all night and into Wednesday and beyond.
Beyond a constant stream of posts, we’ll be talking free agency on PFT Live at noon ET and on Pro Football Talk on NBCSN at 5:30 p.m. ET.
See you there. See you here. See you wherever.