NFL, NFLPA tweak start of new league year

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With the start of a new regular-season looming, it’s just a matter of time before a new league year will be launching in March.

And for those of you who look forward to the annual opportunity for your favorite team to get better (or worse) via the movement of veteran players in free agency, mark your calendars for Wednesday, March 9, at 4:00 p.m. ET. That’s when the period for signing free agents from other teams and making trades opens after the coming season closes.

The shift of the start of the league year to a Wednesday means that the three-day legal tampering period will begin on Sunday, March 6, at 12:00 p.m. ET. In previous years, free agency opened on a Tuesday, and the legal tampering period started on Saturday.

These dates were communicated on Thursday to all teams as a shift in the launch of the new league year, per agreement of the NFL and NFL Players Association.

The change also has triggered a shift in the two-week franchise tag window by a day, with the period for applying the tag opening on Tuesday, February 16, and closing on Tuesday, March 1.

With the Super Bowl happening on February 7 this year (due to the fact that Labor Day lands as late as possible this year, on September 7), there will be only nine days of down time before the offseason starts heating up — and only four weeks and three days until it explodes with the launch of a new league year.

The full list of upcoming dates and deadlines for the NFL appears here.