When is 2023 NFL Free Agency
NFL free agency is set to begin. It’s an important time of the NFL offseason for teams looking to improve their roster heading into the 2023 season. Here is about you need to know about when is NFL free agency, franchise tags, and more.
2023 NFL Free Agency Start Date
NFL free agency officially begins at 4 p.m. eastern time on March 15, 2023. It’s also the beginning of the new league year and all player contracts officially expire at that time.
From March 13-15, NFL teams are allowed to contact the certified agents of players and start contract negotiations with players set to become unrestricted free agents.
Restricted Free Agents
NFL clubs must submit qualifying offers to restricted free agents by March 15 at 4 PM eastern which is the start of the free agency period. If a qualifying offer is not extended, those players will become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year.
A restricted free agent in the NFL is a player with an expired contract who has completed three seasons with their current team. They can negotiate with other teams, but their original team has the right to match any offer and may receive draft pick compensation if they choose not to match.
The level of compensation depends on the type of tender placed on the player, with first-round tenders offering the highest compensation.
The Franchise Tag
In the NFL, placing the franchise tag on a player is a way for teams to keep their players around for another year, even if they’re about to become free agents. Essentially, a team can offer a player a one-year contract that’s worth the average of the top salaries at their position, or 120% of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater.
This way, the team can hold onto the player for at least one more season and prevent them from becoming a free agent. There are two types of franchise tags: the exclusive tag and the non-exclusive tag. The exclusive tag means that the player can’t talk to other teams, while the non-exclusive tag allows other teams to make offers to the player.
If the player signs with another team, the original team has the option to match the offer and keep the player, or they can let the player go and receive compensation in the form of draft picks.
Teams can only use the franchise tag on one player per year, and the tag can only be used for one season. If a player is tagged and the team doesn’t sign them to a long-term contract by the deadline, the player will play on the one-year tag and become a free agent the following year.
The Transition Tag
The transition tag in the NFL is a tool that teams use to retain a player who is about to become a free agent. There are some differences compared to the franchise tag.
The transition tag offers a lower salary than the franchise tag. Also, other teams can sign the player to an offer sheet. The original team can match the offer and keep the player, or choose not to match the offer. If they do this, they receive no compensation.
Teams can only use the transition tag once per year on one player. If the player doesn’t sign a long-term deal by the deadline, they play the upcoming season under the transition tag. They then become an unrestricted free agent the following year.
Notable NFL Free Agents
Who are some of the NFL’s top players on the free agent market? There are quite a few top names and players who will become unrestricted free agents. Here’s a quick look at some of the players who will get a lot of buzz during the NFL free agency period.
Lamar Jackson – QB
All the talk will be surrounding Lamar Jackson. The electric quarterback led the league in rushing a few years ago and won an MVP. The Baltimore Ravens need to decide if they want to apply the franchise tag. It seems they won’t get a long-term deal done.
Geno Smith – QB
He had a career year this past season with the Seahawks after a career-high in touchdown passes, yards, and more. Will he get a deal with Seattle coming off his best season? Several teams in the league could use a quarterback such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to Tom Brady’s retirement.
Orlando Brown – OT
Brown received the franchise tag from the Chiefs last year. Will it happen again or will they bring him back on a long-term deal? He’s a solid left tackle and offensive lineman that could boost several teams looking for some pass protection. Brown is one of the top offensive linemen on the market.
Derek Carr – QB
Derek Carr played for the Las Vegas Raiders last season before being benched. He will draw interest from several teams hoping to upgrade the quarterback position for next season.
Other Notable Free Agents
There are plenty of names out there that will draw attention. These include running back Saquon Barkley, linebacker Lavonte David, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, and more. Barkley was a 1,300-yard rusher during the 2022 season. Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2022, is also available.
Important NFL Offseason Dates
As the 2023 league year leads up to the regular season, there are a few more important dates to keep track of. The most notable is the 2023 NFL Draft at the end of April.
March 26-29: Annual league meetings are held in Phoenix, Arizona.
April 21: The deadline for restricted free agents to sign their offer sheets.
April 27-29: The 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri at Union Station.
When is NFL Free Agency FAQs
The official start time is 4 p.m. eastern time on March 15, 2023. Teams are allowed to talk to certified agents from the 13th-15th but they can’t start signing free agents until the set time of 4 p.m. on the 15th.
2022 contracts expire when free agency begins at 4 p.m. on March 15, 2023. Players without qualifying offers or franchise tags become unrestricted free agents.
Teams can contact the certified agents of players from March 13-15 leading up to the 4 p.m. eastern time start of free agency.